My Little Corner of the Net

My First Practical Prism App

I downloaded Mozilla’s Lab’s new software Prism a while back. The concept behind Prism is pretty cool–basically it provides a desktop interface to a website. With most-basic use this means that your favorite web site gets an icon in your start menu and runs wrapped in a custom window without the standard browser features like location bar and nav buttons. If you want to get more fancy you can add advanced features like custom style sheets to alter the look of the site.

As cool as Prism seemed, I really couldn’t come up with a practical use of it. Sure, I wrapped GMail and a couple of other sites, but launching a separate program to get to those site seemed kind of pointless since I pretty much spend my day in Firefox already; I rarely use bookmarks as it is, rather I just start typing URLS and use auto-completion to navigate through the sites I visit regularly.

This morning I came up with a good use–Pandora. I often listen to Pandora while I work, running the “mini” pop-up player in a Firefox window. The only problem is that when Firefox crashes the music stops. So today I figured out the URL of the mini player’s page and created a new Prism app pointed at it. Since the Prism version runs in a different process from Firefox, the music keeps playing when an endless JavaScript loop kills Firefox (not that I ever create endless loops in JavaScript…). Plus, unlike some of the stand-alone Pandora apps out there, this one keeps the ads (that Pandora counts on for revenue–it is a free service, after all) showing.