Something new to play with

Yea, Christmas is over. Let’s get on with it, shall we? Well, I will be polite and at least ask if you scored some good loot. I did ok, getting a set of Jersey knit sheets for me, plus some nifty flashlights.

Last week I discovered a new app from someone. Maybe in a del.icio.us feed, I really don’t recall. If it was you, thanks! Anyway, it’s called Fluid (don’t search for this on Google. They don’t like it) and, from the website, here is what it does.

>Are you a Gmail, Facebook, Campfire or (Insert Your Favorite Webapp Here) fanatic? Do you have 20 or more browser tabs open at all times? Are you tired of some random site or Flash ad crashing your browser and causing you to lose your (say) Google Spreadsheets data in another tab?

>If so, Site Specific Browsers (SSBs) provide a great solution for your webapp woes. Using Fluid, you can create SSBs to run each of your favorite webapps as a separate desktop application. Fluid gives any webapp a home on your Mac OS X desktop complete with Dock icon, standard menu bar, and logical separation from your other web browsing activity.

I’ve been told this has been done before with less than stellar results. But alas, I’ve only been a mac guy for about 8 months, so I know nothing of what came before. Basically what it does is allow you to open a single website in an app like window. Google apps, gmail, wp-admin, facebook, whatever.

More after the jump. Deal with it.

I’ve been using it with gMail and I call tell you it’s ok. You can launch it from Quickstart, it opens in a new Safari window (using the link to the Old gMail even so it works correctly) and works like an app. And, if all you do in gMail is send and read, it works pretty well. Works well for wp-admin’s too. There are times when I just want to open one up and hammer out a post or check the comment queue. I don’t want to open Firefox and go through all that. This is quick and easy.

Now before you rush out to download it, there are somethings that I think are just a little strange. Well, only one thing really, and that’s opening a link in an email (or Google Reader). By default, those links will open in a new window (or tab in FF because it lets me set the preferences correctly, much unlike Safari). When running them in a Fluid window, they now will open in a new window or tab in your default browser, but after opening a blank window first.

Imagine you are checking email. Follow a message board link or two. A comment on Flickr (sweet!). A new spammer following you on twitter you need to block and there was an update to the comments at dbmini. Lesse, that’s 5 links clicked from gMail. Know what that gives you?

picture-1.png

See those 5 blank windows? That’s what happens when you click multiple links in the gMail app. Quite annoying because those blank windows also grab focus from the main app window, so cmd-tab takes you to a blank window, not the actual gMail window.

This behavior seems to be specific to gMail too. I’ve been playing with it on the WTF wp-admin and the same thing doesn’t happen when I click a link that would normally open in a new tab/window.

It is still in Beta. And for everything else it works great. I just wouldn’t use it for gmail. But for anything else web based, it seems to work pretty well.

Update. For those of you that are thinking it might not happen with Safari set as default browser, don’t. Same thing happens with Safari.

If you missed the link above, you can find it at fluidapp.com.

Published by Don

Lead bottle washer at donburnside.com, host at whiteroofradio.com and tech guru for the MotoringFile family of sites.

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