David Knoble, CPA, PLLC

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Firefox Prism Can Help Your Business

Fire­Fox, the other inter­net browser, has been devel­op­ing a great piece of soft­ware for over a year that is now com­ing to the fore­front.  This soft­ware can help you be more pro­duc­tive in your work and also help those that are a lit­tle less inter­net savvy.

This quickly ris­ing prod­uct is called Prism.  The point of this prod­uct is to cre­ate appli­ca­tions out of the web sites you use reg­u­larly.  What do we mean by appli­ca­tion?  Think of a sim­ple win­dow frame around your often used web site with­out all the other inter­net browser clut­ter.   Your next ques­tion is prob­a­bly, what types of web sites might this be use­ful for?

Let’s say your com­pany uses Google email, or GMail.  You can open up the GMail login page within Fire­Fox and then cre­ate a Prism Appli­ca­tion.  This process is quick and it can cre­ate an Icon for your desk­top, start-menu or quick­launch bar that goes straight to the GMail page.

An example application made with Prism.

What’s the dif­fer­ence between a Prism appli­ca­tion and just past­ing a short­cut to the book­marked page?

The dif­fer­ence is in the pre­sen­ta­tion. See the exam­ple to the left where a LinkedIn home page is cre­ated as an appli­ca­tion.  The dif­fer­ent tool­bars and sta­tus bars are gone let­ting the user focus on the web page.  Nav­i­ga­tional but­tons and links on the web page make it appear more like an appli­ca­tion and less like the web.  Of course, this is depen­dent on the web site to pro­vide the links and but­tons.  Another fea­ture is the abil­ity for Prism to cre­ate the link and the icon for you.  If you select the Desk­top as the loca­tion for the appli­ca­tion, Prism cre­ates an icon with your cus­tom title.  You can let Prism choose an icon from the web for the appli­ca­tion or you can choose a cus­tom one.  In the exam­ple here, I let Prism choose it auto­mat­i­cally and Prism came back with the LinkedIn web logo.

firefox-prism-example-desktopiconThis icon can be added to your quick­launch bar or the start menu.  So now you have the abil­ity to eas­ily cre­ate what appear to be an appli­ca­tion com­plete within it’s own win­dow, but are really dressed up point­ers to a web site.

Pos­si­bil­i­ties include,

  • Using GMail for com­pany email
  • Access­ing social net­works like LinkedIn, Twit­ter & Facebook
  • Access­ing your blog or other blogs you con­tribute to
  • Using bank or ven­dor web sites to login and trans­act business

For the best results, go to the Fire­Fox down­load cen­ter for add-ins and search for Prism.  You can then let Fire­Fox auto­mat­i­cally down­load and install the Prism fea­tures.  As it says on the Fire­Fox site, all you need to do once it is installed, is use the Tools, Cre­ate Appli­ca­tion menu item.  Select your choices on the dia­logue box and finish!

Two issues I noted include exit­ing and restart­ing Fire­Fox twice — once from the install and once more time and the need to re-enter pass­words for web sites that have already been accessed and saved with Fire­Fox.  These issues didn’t bother me much.

Thus, another great exam­ple of the open source com­mu­nity cre­at­ing tools that we can really use and ben­e­fit our work habits.

Post any com­ments of expe­ri­ences you have had with Prism!

© 2009, david.knoble
by David Kno­ble, CPA, PLLC
Serv­ing Non-Profits, Busi­nesses & Indi­vid­u­als
Rock Hill, SC

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