Mozilla's Prism: a first look at a new Firefox add-on

Mozilla Labs has unveiled the beta of a new application called Prism 1.0

Mozilla Labs has unveiled the beta of a new application called Prism 1.0 that takes the Internet off your browser and plants it onto your desktop. Prism is both a useful Firefox extension and a desktop app -- the latter for those who needlessly cling to Internet Explorer.

Prism 1.0 works in a similar fashion to the "create applications shortcuts" option in the Google Chrome browser. It culls data from the Web site of your choice and converts it into a desktop application. The app functions separately from the originating Web site, so when Firefox (inevitably) crashes, the desktop app is not affected.

The Mozilla blog presents a few improvements and benefits to using desktop apps rather than solely relying on a Web page:

As the first bullet mentions, not all Web sites are Prism-enabled, but Mozilla claims there are "tens of thousands" already playing well with Prism, and hopes for more to come. The mainstays you'll be using -- Gmail, Facebook, other favorites -- are Prism-enabled.

The Prism download page presents two options: You can grab the Firefox extension or the standalone desktop app. The Firefox extension downloads via the Firebox browser just like all extensions. All you need is to reset the browser after the app is finished and a new option appears in your Tools menu: "Convert Website to Application."

From there, you can rename the shortcut, move it to your desktop or your Windows start-up bar, and even change its representative icon (most of the automatic icons are low-res).

The standalone desktop app works in precisely the same fashion, except you have to open it and manually insert the URL you'd like transformed into an app. If you're using Firefox, I'd recommend skipping the middleman and downloading the extension. If you're using Chrome, you have this feature already. If you're using Internet Explorer, first, you need to stop; and second, you can use the somewhat clunky standalone app.

Web apps are a great timesaver for those who loathe cycling through multiple Web pages to find what they're looking for, and Prism 1.0 delivers on this. The extension is perfect but the clunkiness of the standalone app needs improvement. Since this product is still in beta, we can expect enhancements and updates in the future.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Firefoxmozilla

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Brennon Slattery

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?