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Mozilla WebRuner becomes Prism, brings web apps to the desktop

Mozilla PrismOh experimental applications, they grow up so quickly. It seems like just last week we were telling you about Mozilla WebRunner, a stripped down version of Firefox with no tabs or URL bar. And now WebRunner's all grown up and has a new name: Prism.

OK, all grown up might be an overstatement. But Mozilla has outlined their goals for the simple web browser: to let you access web applications without firing up Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari, or whatever it is you're using to read this site.

Here's how it works. You download and install Prism. The first time you run it, a window will pop up asking you for a URL, name, and where you'd like to "install" the application. Installation basically means creating a shortcut on your desktop, Start Menu, or Quick Launch Bar. To "uninstall" a web app, just delete the shortcut.

While you could argue Prism is just a glorified way of making desktop shortcuts to web pages, something we've been able to do for years, it's a bit more than that. Because Prism doesn't feature all the bells, whistles, toolbars, and add-ons of Firefox, it's a very light weight browser. And if you just want to access Google Reader, Gmail, or Zoho, that might be enough.

Eventually, Mozilla may integrate Prism with Firefox. In other words, there would be a toolbar menu that says "make this a desktop app." Any time you visit a website that you want to open with Prism in the future, you could click a button to activate the Prism settings menu.

Tags: Mozilla-Prism, Prism, web-applications, web-apps, web-browser, WebRunner