Well, it’s finally happened. Google has dropped support in Gmail for the version of Gecko used by Mozilla Prism. This means that Gmail has to fall back on basic html mode. So, clicking on an email causes it to open up a new Firefox window for the email – rendering Prism completely unusable.
Of course, it was just a matter of time. Prism hasn’t been updated in almost 4 years – ever since Mozilla stopped developing an embeddable version of Gecko, and tied it into Firefox development. And, it seems like the idea of Site-Specific Browsers (SSBs) never took off.
Personally, I’m a huge fan of the concept. For rich web-apps like Gmail, it just makes so much sense! I love having a dedicated Gmail window that is sandboxed from the rest of my browsing environment, giving me the full power of the Gmail web client, without having to keep my main browser signed into Google. It also means that I can put it up on it’s own monitor!
Fortunately, while the concept hasn’t really taken off, there is still a solution, at least for the Mac. For $5, I picked up a copy of Fluid, which allows me to set up a sandboxed SSB using a modern version of WebKit, giving me my Gmail app back. There are still a couple of quirks that I need to get used to, but it’s nice to know that I’m not going to have to drastically change my workflow.