The aim of Prism is to bridge the vast gap between Web applications and Desktop applications.
What does this mean?
Well, let’s take for example a famous Web application, Google Mail.
The first step is to download Prism.
Here is the current Windows beta build.
Linux and Mac builds are not available yet.
Next, a full installation of Prism is required.
Now the first Prism application can be configured.
For Google Mail the following settings should be entered:
After pressing “OK”, a newly created Google Mail icon will appear on the Desktop.
Clicking on the icon, and signing in Google Mail would result in:
Thus, Google Mail, which is a Web application can now be started and behave as a Desktop application:
Prism is like a Web browser without toolbars, navigation buttons, tabs etc.
So here comes the question, is that hot or not?
Currently I would say “not”.
This simple Prism function does not impress me at all.
I mean, I can have a separate browser window just for Google Mail, if I wish so.
Also as a power-user, I would like to follow links in new tabs, have my browser’s right-click functions, even make use of Firefox add-ons.
Moreover, having to maintain (download, update etc) two different applications (Firefox and Prism) requires more resources.
However Prism developers could change this behavior in the future:
We’re also thinking about how to better integrate Prism with Firefox, enabling one-click “make this a desktop app” functionality that preserves a user’s preferences, saved passwords, cookies, add-ons, and customizations. Ideally you shouldn’t even have to download Prism, it should just be built into your browser.
Also they are trying to make Prism working in offline mode.
And while Prism focuses on how web apps can integrate into the desktop experience, we’re also working to increase the capabilities of those apps by adding functionality to the Web itself, such as providing support for offline data storage and access to 3D graphics hardware.
Definitely that would be a cool feature, possibly combined with Google Gears.
Although Firefox 3 is supposed to offer a sophisticated offline mode…
In conclusion, Prism is a great concept, but at its current early stage does not impress much.
Reference: Prism – Mozilla Labs Blogs