Fluid Hits 1.0, Turns Websites Into Apps [50 Mac Essentials #35]



If you spend a lot of time using a lot of webapps, Fluid should be high on your list of software must-haves.

It’s been hovering in unofficial beta status for years now, but just this week got bumped to 1.0, and now comes in two flavors: free and paid. Either of them is well worth having.

When you open Fluid, you see a simple box. Behind the simplicity lies a great deal of clever code.

All you need to do is tell Fluid the URL of your webapp (like facebook.com, or gmail.com, or whatever), and it builds you a web browser on the spot. That browser will be custom-made for use with that particular site. You can give it a name, and a custom icon (this Flickr pool is a good place to find what you need) and save it in your Applications folder alongside all your other stuff.

All of that comes for free, but the new paid version (priced at a very reasonable $5) adds something even better: separate cookie storage for each browser you create.

This means that those of you who spend your entire working day online can create separate browserapps for each of your Twitter accounts. For several different email accounts, YouTube accounts, you name it.

What’s more, every single Fluid browser comes with a bunch of amazing features built-in. You can turn Fluid apps into Menu Bar widgets, you can change how they look and behave, you can even use one as your primary general purpose web browser if you like.

In its early days, I used to think Fluid had somewhat niche appeal and would only be of interest to nerds like me. But now that so many of us have so much of our stuff stored and managed on the web, I think Fluid deserves to become a mainstream product. Recommended.