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As you probably know 'Create application shortcut...' in Chrome creates desktop/taskbar shortcut to the web application (current URL). When the corresponding shortcut is clicked, Chrome opens separate window for just this URL w/o navigation bar. enter image description here So now I can use Google translate (almost) as desktop app.

Does (last) Firefox have this feature? Built-in or plugin? Actually I recall Firefox having this feature once, but I may be just dreaming.

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2 Answers 2

up vote 16 down vote accepted

Mozilla Prism (formerly WebRunner) by Mozilla Labs featured the "Create application shortcut" in Firefox:

Mozilla Prism (formerly WebRunner) is a product which integrates web applications with the desktop, allowing web applications to be launched from the desktop and configured independently of the default web browser.

Users can manually create web applications using Tools > Convert Website to Application.

However, since November 2010, Prism is listed as an inactive project at the Mozilla labs website. On February 1, 2011, Mozilla labs announced it would no longer maintain Prism.

There were several alternatives to Prism, but it seems that all of them have been discontinued and are no longer active or available for download.

In the following question: Why is Firefox Prism not in the repositories anymore?, there are two useful answers, regarding the discontinue of Prism and possible alternatives and solutions. It was mentioned that web application support in Firefox is currently in progress. Also, some workarounds have been suggested.

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3  
This feature is so useful for apps like StackEdit, Regex101. Can't believe Mozilla would discontinue it. –  CMCDragonkai Nov 12 '14 at 4:00

Firefox has a terribly under-documented flag -chrome:

firefox.exe -chrome http://superuser.com

Like Chrome application shortcut:

  • Creates a basic window with just the web page and the plain window chrome (no tab bar, address bar, etc).
  • Usable as an "application".

Unlike Chrome application shortcut:

  • The window is always created with the full size of the page. For AJAX-based empty pages that only fill themselves after page-load, this would result in a very tiny window at the top-left corner of the screen. Thankfully you can manually resize the window.
    • If you try superuser.com, you will get a window that's very very long.
    • Undocumented flags -width and -height do not work.
    • It may be possible to have a post-launch process find the window and adjust the window size automatically, but that seems too much work for the average user.
  • Favicon is not used as the window icon. The window still has the Firefox icon.
  • In Windows taskbar grouping, the window is grouped with Firefox's main window. In Google Chrome, an application shortcut really runs as separate Windows program and is not grouped with Chrome's main window.
    • Due to this, if a shortcut to the app is pinned in the taskbar, the shortcut doesn't become the window of the app.
    • Also, exiting Firefox will close the app. Launching again will not restore the app even if Firefox is set to restore all tabs and windows.
  • No right-click menu. No back-forward functionality (even with keyboard shorcuts). Cannot reload or zoom. Doesn't remember zoom set in Firefox main window.
  • Using arrow keys to move text caret when typing in a textbox can sometimes produce weird results.
  • This feature sometimes causes Windows to enter a black screen and come back with "Windows Basic Color Scheme" mode (all Aero effects will be gone). I would classify this as a bug. It doesn't always happen.
    • If this happens, open command prompt and run net stop uxsms followed by net start uxsms.

Other than the above problems, it works fine.

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