My migration away from Microsoft Exchange to Google’s Gmail has started to push me more towards “cloud” computing and web apps. When I combine the availability of reasonably featured software applications with a nearly always available WWAN connection on any of my devices, I see a powerful productivity platform evolving. Once challenge is having web-based applications run inside the browser. While tabbed browsing is now commonplace and makes it easy to run multiple apps, if the browser crashes, the potential is there for lost work.A new approach to this issue is to turn your web-apps into pseudo-desktop apps. By doing so, you can have shortcuts to your web-apps in your program launcher and they’ll run in an isolated program space, just like a real desktop app. Additionally, since they’re treated like a desktop program, they’ll show up in task switching utilities for quicker navigation.If these benefits sound appealing to you as a web-app user, you’ll want to check out Prism from Mozilla and Fluid from Todd Ditchendorf. Fluid is specific to the Mac OS X Leopard operating system and was inspired by Mozilla’s Prism project. Essentially, both Fluid and Prism offer the same benefits stated above, but Windows or Linux users will have to go with Prism.
Each app asks for a few simple items such as the URL of the web-app, the name you want to give it and a few other small configuration options. Both are in a free beta and I’ve been using Prism for most of the afternoon since I’m now using Google Docs exclusively for my offline and freelance writing.(via TUAW)