How to Get More Out of Fluid

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.

Fluid Icons

Fluid Icons

Going Further With Fluid

However, whilst the basic functionality can be a real time saver, Fluid also offers a number of more advanced features:

  1. Comprehensive preferences
    Clicking ‘Edit > Preferences’ opens up a vast array of options. Everything from restricting certain URL access to altering opacity window settings.
  2. “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
  3. Support for dock badges
    Be notified of updates from supporting sites through a changing number on the dock icon.
  4. 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.
  5. Plugins
    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.