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.

up vote 22 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There were several alternatives to Prism, but it seems that all of them have been discontinued and are no longer active or available for download.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.

  • 4
    This feature is so useful for apps like StackEdit, Regex101. Can't believe Mozilla would discontinue it. – CMCDragonkai Nov 12 '14 at 4:00
  • 6
    Now that Quantum is out, I've switched back to Firefox and this is the only thing I'm really missing from Chrome. Seems unbelievable that there's currently no way to do this in Firefox at all. – Charles Roper Nov 21 '17 at 21:54

New Update 2017

You can sort-of do this now, with a small config change and a bookmarklet. (I have not experimented with desktop shortcuts, but it might be possible.)

  1. Go to about:config and set dom.disable_window_open_feature.location to false.
    This is optional, but it removes the disabled location bar at the top of the window.
  2. Create a bookmarklet (that's really just a regular bookmark but executes Javascript):

    javascript:(function(){window.open("https://www.google.com/","_blank","menubar=no,location=no,toolbar=no,scrollbars=yes,left=150,top=50");})();
    

    Replace https://www.google.com/ with your URL.

When you open this bookmarklet, it will open the site in a separate dedicated window. You may want to adjust the values of left and top as needed.

Bonus Tip: If you have "Show your windows and tabs from last time" enabled, when you exit and restart Firefox with the dedicated window open, it is also restored.


Previous Answer

Update: Support for this flag appears to have been removed from the latest versions of Firefox.

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.

  • 2
    doesn't work for me under WIndows, with Firefox 44 and profiles, it just starts ff with the default page (no clue which component is wrong, I bet it's Windows :p ) – childno͡.de Jan 29 '16 at 14:32
  • @childno.de appears to have stopped working for me too. I think Firefox developers removed the flag support. I updated the answer. – ADTC May 6 '16 at 3:07
  • 1
    The javascript-bookmark solution works well. Unfortunately there seems to be no way to set a proper Window-Title (which is displayed in the taskbar). So the window in the taskbar is an unsexy https URL whereas in chrome I can set it to SomeGreatApp. Setting the windowName property in the bookmark doesn't help and the developer docs state that it's not supposed to set the title. :-( – doublehelix Feb 10 at 17:19

Create a separate profile and run it as separate process. The window will look similar to an chrome app and will not be grouped in the windows task bar. Is also will have it's own icon and a hidden tab bar and navigation bar.

Steps:

  1. Close all instances of firefox
  2. Create a saparate firefox profile
    1. open run (win+r)
    2. run firefox -P
    3. create a new profile app
    4. select the default profile
    5. exit
  3. Create a mklink of the firefox folder
    1. Run cmd as administrator. Search for cmd and open with a right click.
    2. Enter: cd "C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox\"
    3. Create a folder link with mklink /D "Mozilla Firefox App" "Mozilla Firefox"
    4. Move the link "Mozille Firefox App" out of the "Mozilla Firefox" folder
  4. Open the new profile in the new folder
    1. go to the Mozilla Firefox App folder and create a shortcut of the firefox.exe on the desktop
    2. Open the shortcut target and add -P app no-remote
    3. The shortcut should look for instance like this: "C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox WhatsApp\firefox.exe" -P whatsapp -no-remote
  5. Install extensions and change settings
    1. Install the extension "Hide Tab bar with one Tab"
    2. Install the extension "Hide Navigation Bar". After installation use F2 to hide the navigation bar.
    3. Install the extension "Change Profile's Window Icons". Please read the instructions of the extension, to make it work, and use it with care.

Other solutions:

You could use the standalone extension but for me it was to buggy.

Sources:

Here's my solution:

I wrote a small piece of code to create an application window, and present a list of webapps based on a custom-defined list. Copy the code I posted here, then create a bookmerklet that points to: javascript:[paste code here].

Just customise the details in the appList object to match your needs.

Note you still need to configure Firefox as explained in ADTC's answer to allow window.open to create tab-less, toolbar-less, scrollbar-less windows.

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