Fluid: Turning Web content into OS X apps

If you've got too many browser tabs open and it's hard to find the one you want why not make the Web content into OS X apps?

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Credit: Wikipedia

One of the problems with having so many Web-based services that we rely on is that our browsers become overloaded with tabs and jumping from what I’m working on to, say, check my email or check my calendar is clumsy. I’ve tried keeping my “utility” tabs in another browser window and while that’s better I still have to jump between the tabs. 

Just now I had over 40 tabs open in Chrome under OS X while I was researching a product and its underlying technologies. Of those 40 tabs there are eight that I need open all the time but how to make them more like apps than browser tabs?

The answer, at least for OS X, is a tool called Fluid published by the wonderfully named Celestial Teapot Software.

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Fluid main screen

You give Fluid the URL of the Web service you want to “app-ize”, the name for the app, specify where you want to store the app, and specify the icon you want the app to use, press “Create” and voila! You have an app.

Here’s my “Gearhead” app that encapsulates my Network World Gearhead blog.

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Gearhead app made with Fluid

On the whole, Fluid works great although some sites that do clever things with Javascript and dynamic refresh appear to have problems; that said, I’ve only seen this issue with one site out of a dozen sophisticated sites I’ve tried Fluid on where it seemed that there was a problem with authentication with the site once it was turned into an app.

I’d like to see the Fluid with the ability to wrap up a site and remove the system menu bar so that apps could be distributed in a more restricted form for end users. 

Fluid is free or, to get access to other, more advanced configuration features, priced at a very reasonable $4.99. Fluid from Celestial Teapot Software gets a Gearhead rating of 4.5 out of 5.


Fluid from Todd Ditchendorf on Vimeo.

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