updated 01:25 pm EDT, Fri October 26, 2007
Mozilla today announced the first version of Prism, the company's new platform for bringing web applications to the desktop. Similar to Adobe's AIR or Microsoft's Silverlight, the technology is designed to provide users with a clutter-free, dedicated environment to run a web-based program while still having access to the inherent advantages of web standards and a constant connection to the Internet when needed. Unlike the Adobe or Microsoft offerings, however, Mozilla's solution would not necessarily require specialized code to be written for each new program. In many cases, Prism can split apps away from a website and run them as separate software, complete with the same task switching or Expose interaction as a full-blown program, the company says.
In its current state, Prism is only available for Windows and does not take full advantage of its presence as a local app, such as gaining access to the computer's hard drive or 3D acceleration for games and modeling tools. Mac and Linux versions of the platform should be released early next week, the company estimates. A browser framework will be available in the future that adds at least the storage feature by the time Firefox 3 is released sometime next year.