Mozilla Looks to Bring Web Apps to Desktop

Mozilla is working on a new application called "Prism," which will help to blur the line further between applications for the web and the desktop.

Prism lets popular Web services such as GMail and others be used just like a normal desktop application, without a need to open the Web browser. Prism itself will be built on Firefox, meaning any Web technology Firefox supports could also be used within Prism.

"Unlike Adobe AIR and Microsoft Silverlight, we're not building a proprietary platform to replace the Web," Mozilla Labs wrote in a blog post. "The first of these experiments is based on Webrunner, which we've moved into the Mozilla Labs code repository and renamed to Prism."

In addition to supporting common web technologies, the company is also working to give Web applications access to further computer functionality, such as offline storage and access to 3D graphics hardware.

Mozilla's latest creation may not necessarily be an entirely seperate application; instead, the Labs team is looking into ways to integrate the functionality into Firefox itself. Thus, when a user sees a Web application they would like to run as a desktop app, it would only take a few clicks to create new Web-desktop application mashups.

While Prism will eventually be available for Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux, currently the team only has an early build for Windows available (builds for other platforms are said to be on the way).

"Prism is just the first of many experiments we hope to conduct around improving the usability of Web applications," the team wrote.

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