6:17 am

MacMost Now 299: Creating Site-Specific Browsers

The free program Fluid allows you to create applications that display a single site in a Safari-like browser. You can use it to turn sites like Gmail into applications, and also access lots of advanced browser functionality not present in Safari.

Video Transcript (Click to Expand)
Hi, this is Gary with MacMost Now. Today, lets learn how to use Fluid to create site-specific browsers.
So Fluid is one of the most useful applications I've come across in a long while. It's completely free and you can download it at fluidapp.com. Once you have it there, you run it and it basically asks you to create a site-specific browser. That's basically a browser just like Safari except it really only goes to one website.
Let's take a look. So here I'm gonna run Fluid, and I got this dial out box here that asks me to type in a URL and a name. So I'm gonna use MacMost.com. I can store it in the applications folder or somewhere else; I can also choose an icon or use the website's icon.
I'm gonna hit create and what I'm gonna get is I'm gonna get a new application added to my applications folder, and it's going to be called MacMost. You can see it just below the screen here; I'll scroll up. There it is.
Now I can launch it right away; and basically I get a version of Safari using the web kit that Safari's based on, but it's just got that one website in it like here, MacMost.
Now doing this for a site like MacMost doesn't make that much sense. You can usually just browse to it using your regular Safari browser, but it does make more sense when you're using something like maybe Gmail. Creating a site-specific browser that's just called Gmail and just browses to Gmail can actually be very useful.
You can have that open as a totally separate application from Safari so you can basically use it as your email application as opposed to your application that surfs all sorts of different websites.
So a Fluid browser can actually do a lot more that Safari can't. So for instance, here I'm in my MacMost browser. I can go to preferences and I can click on appearance; and one of the things I can see here is I can set the window level from normal. I can actually have it float above all other windows, even above the dashboard, or I can actually have it embedded into the desktop.
It's very useful say if you have a site-specific browser that shows you local weather or news. You can embed it in your desktop. Or if you have it go to a website that say has your to-do list, you can actually have that float above everything else.
Now, in the advanced preferences, you can actually, say you want to allow browsing anywhere using this specific Fluid browser; or you can allow only things that meet a certain pattern. So by default, I can only go to things that are MacMost.com in the URL.
This can be very useful for setting up browsers that are for kiosks or for setting something up for a young child that you only want to be able to go to one or a handful of websites.
Now I also have some other viewing modes. Under window you can go into real Full Screen Mode using a Fluid browser. You can also go ahead and use one of the plug-ins that comes by default with it and creates panes. So, here I create a left pane where another web page can be. So for instance I can go here and drag this link into this pane here and now I'm actually viewing two separate web pages at MacMost side by side; not in tabs, not in separate windows, but actually side by side in different panes in the same browser.
And I'm serious when I say I'm just scratching the surface of what a Fluid site-specific browser can do. There's tons of other features and there's tons of extra plug-ins that you add; you can even do some of your own scripting.
So download Fluid and give it a try. I find it to be very useful. I keep my tasks lists in a Fluid site-specific browser. I keep Gmail in a site-specific browser. Then I use Safari to surf the rest of the web.
Until next time, this is Gary Rosenzweig with MacMost Now.

Comments: One Response to “MacMost Now 299: Creating Site-Specific Browsers”

    10/1/09 @ 12:51 pm

    thanks I’ll sure give it a try, looks cool

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