This trick today comes in part from Ethan, he found a cool way to make Site Specific Browsers (SSB) which can displays websites as if they are applications. For example, say you are a big fan of this site and you want to easily view it without all of the clutter of menu bars, toolbars and all of the other as all of the other crud that is associated with web browsers.
The first step you want to do is download Fluid. Its a simple download. Once as you have unzipped it and ran the program you will be presented with a screen similar to the one below. Here enter the URL you want. The name of the little application you are going to create. The location is where the file will be stored, for example you could create a folder full of these little applications. The last option is for the favicon/logo in the dock.
Once you hit create, to will whirl for a bit, and then present you with a success message. From here you can close fluid and the new site specific browser will pop up.I would show you a screenshot, but it is pretty boring to look at.
Browsing the new site is similar to browsing in a normal web browser. Links work as normal, you can open tabs etc. If you want the toolbar back you can go to View > Show Toolbar. Due to a preference setting in Preferences > Advance Preferences it should disallow you to run to other URL’s. This means that you secure the browsing habits. For example if you are in a shop and you want people to only browse your URL you could create an SSB and disable Safari. This means people can only search your site. Nifty.
The Fluid app also has some other cool little tricks that you can use to your advantage. For example you can use the User Agent option under the name of the application you have created to view the website in a different user agent. This is very useful for developers as it has options to view the browser using different agents. For example if you are visiting a site that displays different content for different browsers you can view it easily. It doesn’t render the page differently, for example it wont render the page as if it is Internet Explorer 5 for example. Very useful if you have created an iPhone/iTouch page and want to quickly test it out.
Another good little feature is the Convert To Menu Extra under the name of your application from the menu bar. This little command changes the SSB so it launches from the menu bar, instead of being an application it is as if it is a menu bar item. Very cool if you are addicted to viewing facebook for example but don’t want to run it as an application. The other option Convert to Embedded SSB changes the page so it runs behind everything. I haven’t found this very useful.
I really like Fluid, it makes browsing certain websites a lot easier. Leave a comment below to tell me of your experiences.