This is neat. How would you like the ability to create your own standalone webapps on your Mac OS X desktop? In other words, what if you could turn any website into a Mac desktop application?
Fluid can do just that.
Download Fluid – requires OS 10.5 or later
In seconds, Fluid can take a given website – such as Gmail, Google Docs, Facebook, eBay, YouTube, or whatever you want – and package it into its own Site Specific Browser (SSB). The SSBs can then run as complete and independent Cocoa applications, complete with their own dock icons and menu bars! Fluid SSBs are based on Safari’s WebKit rendering engine.
Creating the Application
Creating your own SSB is simple: just launch Fluid and fill in the URL and the name of the App you wish to create.
Choose a place to save your new App (defaults to Applications). If you wish to attach a picture for the Dock icon, you may do so. Otherwise, Fluid will grab the site’s favicon.
Here is my new Gmail SSB. Notice the application name and the custom icon in the Dock.
That’s all there is to it. In this example, Gmail runs as its own self-contained browser App on my desktop. Pretty slick.
Run as a Menu Item
With a few extra clicks, you can turn any Fluid App into a Menu item. Just look under the Application name in the menu and click on Convert to MenuExtra SSB.
The App will disappear from the Dock and relaunch as a Menu item.
Because Fluid Apps are based on WebKit, you can even browse sites using Cover Flow. Neat!
Fluid may seem like a novelty, but if there is a website that you tend to leave open most of the time, Fluid can come in handy. Because it’s self-contained, you don’t have to worry about a random browser crash taking down all your open sites.
Speaking of novelty, here’s a link where you can download your very own TipsFor.us desktop application! Yes, that’s right, it will undoubtedly be your least-commonly used Fluid app, perhaps used once before it’s relegated to its rightful place in the Trash!
Fluid itself requires Mac OS 10.5 or greater, but I see no reason why the Apps it creates won’t run on 10.4 or earlier. I’ve upgraded to 10.5, but if someone could verify or disprove me by testing that TipsFor.us App in the above paragraph, I would appreciate it.