Cesar’s Vanilla Blog

White and creamy wtf

WebRunner in the works

I have been spending a bit of time in the Mark Finkle‘s idea of WebRunner. There has been a few discussions on it how far along to take it, and even what we should do with it.

There has been some discussion about shipping it with Firefox 3, but I think that has been put behind in favor of an extension to Firefox so we can follow our own timeline. Luckily, FF3 has a new neat feature that allow you to pass the -app parameter to run a xul application. Nifty.

So I am releasing a very beta release WebRunner Extension. It comes bundled with the latest stable release of WebRunner. It is also a simple demonstration of what I think might be the right direction, but I may be totally off. I look forward to comments and constructive criticism, not for a tongue lashing and threats of bodily harm (unless you attended the webrunner meeting).

There are two ways to start WebRunner: On the fly and tagging a bookmark.

If you tag a bookmark as “webapp”, the next time you visit that page you will be prompted if you want to open that page in webrunner. This suffers from slow response and a few bugs, which consequently will cause two prompts to come up (simply cancel the second prompt). This also doesn’t allow you to specify whether you want to show the navigation/statusbar/location bar.

The other way is to do it on the fly. Under the tools menu, there is a “WebRunner” menuitem which will prompt you for things to show. It will open Webrunner after you click ok.

Neither method is as flexible as .webapp files, at this point in time. I’m trying to stay away from .webapp files, since the implementation is still volatile. This might be used as a desktop application, or not. I don’t know.

You can give it webrunner_ext.xpi (linux, windows) a try. You need a recent trunk build of FireFox however, or grab a nightly. Please also note that WebRunner uses a different profile than your Firefox when running, so none of your preferences/saved passwords are transferred.


August 23, 2007 - Posted by | Mozilla, Seneca


  1. Very cool. This seems to work on Linux, but not on Windows (and I assume Mac). But we’ll get that worked out soon.

    Comment by Mark Finkle | August 24, 2007 | Reply

  2. […] has release an alpha release of WebRunner deployed as a Firefox extension and launched using Firefox as the runtime. […]

    Pingback by Mark Finkle’s Weblog » WebRunner as a Firefox Extension | August 24, 2007 | Reply

  3. I apologize to the window and mac users out there. I grabbed a nightly and with the help of Mark, got a fix for windows. It is a separate xpi for now.

    Comment by Cesar Oliveira | August 24, 2007 | Reply

  4. I can help with testing on OS X if you need me to.

    Comment by twentyafterfour | August 24, 2007 | Reply

  5. Just testing

    Comment by davidtheatheist | August 31, 2007 | Reply

  6. This worked on Mac for me.

    Comment by dietrich | September 7, 2007 | Reply

  7. I haven’t tried this out yet but I just started playing with the just announced Prism, the Firefox extension definitely makes more sense to me… Something where it would add a buttom on menu item to Firefox where you could say, make this a … application and it would bring up the initial prism dialog with URL, Name, Icon, Options, and place it on your desktop… As a web developer, I think there’s great potential in the concept.

    Comment by David O'Leary | October 26, 2007 | Reply

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