Desktopized Web-Applications are a Great Convenience

Mozilla Lab’s Prism, which allows you to ‘desktopize’ your web applications – i.e. represent them by a desktop icon and run them in their own window – is generally well received, so I’m really surprised at Josh Catone’s assessment on Read/WriteWeb (one of my favorite sites):

Except for the minor convenience of running oft-used web apps in their own dedicated window and making them accessible via a desktop icon, Prism isn’t really all that exciting in its current form. It doesn’t offer much of a benefit over bookmarks and your current browser window.

Sure, offline access will be great, when it’s here… but don’t underestimate the importance of users’ convenience, Josh!

I love the fact that about the only program need to launch is FireFox – but I often find the browser too restricting. Now that large LCD’s are getting less expensive, more and more of us find ourselves working on 24″, 32″ ..etc screens – the browser does not allow smart use of all that real-estate. For example I like to use different window sizes for different (web) apps, and often want side-by-side windows, which I could not get using FireFox tabs. Launching another browser session was a rather resource-wasting workaround.

I’ve been using Zoho Writer, Sheet and Show in a desktopized form for almost a year now (literally, since the tool Zoho uses is called “desktopize”). The pic to the right shows part of my desktop, with 3 Zoho icons. They all pop up in my pre-set window size and position, and disappear to the system tray, even if I close my main browser session.

If this “convenience feature” becomes more mainstream, with Mozilla, Adobe and whoever else backing it, I believe it will lead to increased migration to Web applications, so I’m all for it.

Related posts: Read/WriteWeb, CrunchGear, Download Squad, WebProNews, CyberNet, Digital Trends, TechBlog, Compiler, RIApedia, Google Blogoscoped, Mike Chambers, The Universal Desktop, Jeremy’s Blog, Mashable!


  1. I am also one of those people who think that webrunner (Prizm) is just a “me too” contribution without much innovation. Do you have any numbers on how much resource savings we get by opening a webrunner app instead of another browser window (assuming I have a barebones browser without any plugins).

  2. With the blurring of the desktop and Web this actually becomes important. We have had a real usability issue with our product ucaster (peer to web filesharing and publishing) in having people differentiate between what’s on their desktop and what’s not….

    I’ll be interested to watch to see what people do with it…


  1. […] [1] Zoli’s blog [2] Read/Write blog: Firefox 3 and offline apps [3] Webrunner [4] Mark Finkle [5] ZDNet Blogs […]

  2. […] end up with what I call user generated kludges of the kind Zoli Erdos describes in a post entitled: Desktopized Web-Applications are a Great Convenience. The problem with Zoli’s approach is that most users are not as sophisticated in their […]

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