If you’re someone who dips in and out of several web apps on a daily basis, you may be interested to know that an application for OSX can make your life easier. Fluid allows you to create ‘Site Specific Browsers’ (SSBs) – a separate desktop app for each website you use on a regular basis.
In essence, this allows you to have an standalone dock icon for a variety of websites, opening a specific browser for each website when clicked. I use this functionality for accessing Basecamp on a regular basis – it’s far quicker than navigating to the site through a browser bookmark, and keeps whatever you have going on in Safari completely separate.
Going Further With Fluid
However, whilst the basic functionality can be a real time saver, Fluid also offers a number of more advanced features:
- Comprehensive preferences
Clicking ‘Edit > Preferences’ opens up a vast array of options. Everything from restricting certain URL access to altering opacity window settings.
- “Greasemonkey” scripting
Add your own CSS styles to each individual browser. You can create your own, or choose from a selection of 25,000 at Userscripts.org.
- Support for dock badges
Be notified of updates from supporting sites through a changing number on the dock icon.
- Menu bar display
Show a miniaturized version of a site through your menu bar rather than the dock. This is great for posting links or updates to social networking sites.
A couple of plugins are available to show Google results in CoverFlow mode, and store images and links in a ‘clipboard’ interface. I’m hopeful for the addition of more in the future.
Once you have a beautiful and functional setup for your favorite web application, there’s only one area left to tackle; you’ll need to find a good looking icon. Fortunately, a Flickr group exists for sharing and downloading high quality icons for many popular web apps. These include Facebook, Picasa, YouTube, Twitter, Flickr, WordPress, and some 350 others.
Fluid seems like a basic app when taken at face value, but a vast selection of features are sitting just under the surface. Take the time to dig a little deeper and you’ll discover a range of functionality which turns Fluid into a powerful application-building tool.