That’s an example of where a server-based application is accessed other than through a Web page. In this vein I’d like to mention Prism, which was announced a few days ago by Mozilla Labs and works with the Firefox browser. Prism (formerly WebRunner) makes Web-based applications behave more like PC applications and less like Web pages. Here’s an example:
I use a Web-based to-do list system called Vitalist, and I use it frequently throughout the day. But with lots of browser windows/tabs open at the same time, I may have to hunt a bit to find the one that has Vitalist. Not any more. A few days ago I installed Prism and told it to create an application with name “Vitalist” and URL “http://my.vitalist.com/”. Now I have what seems to be a regular Windows application: there’s an icon on my desktop labelled Vitalist (I could also put it into the Windows Start menu if I wanted to, or the Quick Launch bar), and when I run it the taskbar shows “Vitalist” in the same way that it would show a traditional application like Outlook Express, completely separately from any regular browser windows I may have. I can navigate to it in the same way I would any other Windows application. Furthermore, the window doesn’t waste space with browser buttons like Back and Forward, nor with a location bar, because with Prism those are optional: it gave me checkboxes for them and I didn’t check those off. Although the window is actually a browser window, you’d never know it.
I’ve used Prism for a few days and although it’s an “early prototype” it works fine for me, and I love it. If you use any web-based applications a lot, like Gmail or Facebook, you may like it too.
So far it’s available only for Windows, but Mac OS and GNU/Linux versions should be available soon. More information, and a link to download it are at mozilla.com, specifically here.