Site-specific browser

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File:Wikipedia ssb.png
Screenshot showing Wikipedia website running in a site-specific browser window created by Fluid on Mac OS X

A site-specific browser (SSB) is a software application that is dedicated to accessing pages from a single source (site) on a computer network such as the Internet or a private intranet. SSBs typically simplify the more complex functions of a web browser by excluding the menus, toolbars and browser chrome associated with functions that are external to the workings of a single site.

Site-specific browsers are often implemented through the use of existing application frameworks such as the Apple Inc. developed, open source WebKit, Microsoft's Internet Explorer (the underlying engines, specifically Trident and JScript) and Mozilla's Gecko. SSBs built upon these frameworks allow web applications and social networking tools to start with desktop icons and double click launching in a manner similar to standard non-network applications. Some technologies, including Adobe's AIR use specialized development kits that can create cross-platform SSBs. Since version 6.0, the Curl platform has offered the EmbeddedBrowserGraphic class which can be used as an SSB on the desktop.



An early example of an SSB was MacDICT, a Mac OS 9 application that accessed various web sites to define, translate, or find synonyms for words typed into a text box. A more current example is WeatherBug Desktop, which is a standalone client accessing information also available at the website but configured to display real-time weather data for a user-specified location.

The first general purpose SSB is believed to be Bubbles[1] which launched late 2005 on the Windows platform and later coined the term "Site Specific Extensions" for SSB userscripts and introduced the SSB Javascript API.

On 2 September 2008, the Google Chrome web browser was released for Windows operating systems. Although Chrome is a full featured browser using a WebKit based engine, it also contains a "Create application shortcut"[2] menu item that adds the ability to create a stand-alone SSB window for any site. This is similar to Mozilla Prism, formerly known as WebRunner which is available as an add-on to the Firefox browser.[3]

Examples of applications of SSBs in various situations include:

Mobile applications

As of 2009, site-specific browsers have not been developed for mobile browsers. Instead, the closest to such a sort of SSB that has been allowed is through Safari's iPhone OS-specific feature of full-screen mode for specially-designed webpages which have been previously bookmarked on the iPhone OS Home screen as a "Web Clip".

Theoretically, a mobile SSB would also contain its own submenus for preferences and settings, as are already provided to native OS-installed software applications. However, the prospect of any mobile SSB is limited in performance and fluidity by the JavaScript cache amount which is accorded to the mobile browser.


List of site-specific browser platforms:


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