Turning Websites into clickable apps? Using Fluid and Web Based Productivity Tools…to Increase Productivity!

March 15, 2012 | Ed Kapuscinski

I am surrounded by Web apps during my workday. Many of my activities that used to be done using full-fledged desktop applications and file storage, like word processing, are now done up in the cloud using great tools like Google Docs.

These tools are wonderful, they let me work from any machine with an internet connection, enable real time collaboration, and really facilitate the way I work. I’d be lost without them. Additionally, I spend most of my day in one CMS’s interface or another’s, so I usually have a lot of browser windows open.

However, there is a downside that I found was affecting my productivity. I’m a huge fan of keyboard shortcuts, especially the command-tab app switching on my Mac. I like being able to see what applications I’ve got going, and quickly get to them. This was nice and easy when everything was its own app, but doesn’t exist among browser windows. Command tab and I was in Mail, another command tab and I was using Word, one more and I was looking at iCal.

When I went over to doing so many things through my browser, I lost all of this functionality. Everything was hiding behind that singular Chrome icon.

I recently discovered an app that solves this problem called Fluid (http://fluidapp.com/). Fluid let me quickly and easily create desktop apps from various Web apps. All I do is paste in the URL of the website’s URL, choose an icon for the app, and it does all the rest for me. Essentially, it creates new instances of Safari that are constrained to domains, but it’s made my life disproportionately better for the miniscule amount of effort I put into setting it up.

Now I have different apps that I can quickly switch through for all of my common Web tools: Google Docs, Zimbra, Jira, our internal hour tracking system, our bug tracking system, Hudson, and a couple of different CMS instances I’m working on as a developer.

Even better, my Web browser can go back to browsing, instead of being an application platform!

About the Author

Ed Kapuscinski

I am the Manager of Development Standards at TBG.

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