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I just discovered prism:

It allows you to convert web apps into desktop applications.

You define a bundle, and then can launch your webapp as though it were a desktop application.

There are a bunch of advantages here (as related to chat):

  1. Chat gets its own icon in the taskbar.
  2. Chat gets to run in its own process without the slew of plugins I have installed in firefox.
  3. We can have a sys-tray notification on @mentions

Now (1) and (2) are pretty easy, however the systray stuff would require a custom javascript file in the bundle that interacts with the exposed xul api

Has anybody built a complete prism bundle for chat that includes sys tray support?

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meh, don't care about Firefox, need this for Chrome, the browser of the future. – Jeff Atwood Dec 24 '10 at 6:00
@Jeff ... @Rebecca is working on the chrome solution as we speak ... (involves a user script ... but we could optionally allow this as its a documented chrome api) – waffles Dec 24 '10 at 6:38
@JeffAtwood, just saw this. Userscript had this feature within a couple hours of this question being posted. It is now mostly obsolete though with Marc's addition this morning. Hopefully the kinks will get fixed with the core implementation and then it'll be removed from my userscript. Bit late here, but just saw this comment. I guess I missed the inbox notification. ): – Rebecca Chernoff Dec 30 '10 at 1:52
@Jeff: While you're at it, you could/should support IE9's site pinning features too. – Esko Dec 30 '10 at 8:04
up vote 2 down vote accepted

I've created a Prism bundle for Meta Stack Overflow chat. It's not perfect - far from it - but it does have most features working:

  • Notification for new messages and @-mentions in current and other rooms
  • Internal chat links like those for user profile and transcript, and images opens up in the same window
  • Small usability changes like adding a 'log out' button to allow in-app logging out

As a bonus, I've also compiled the Greasemonkey for Prism add-on from this repo, so that The Userscript can be used too.

Additional Bonus Stuff: I've also built a small set of Windows compatible .ico icons for use with this. It's a full set of icons, ranging from 16 to 256px and is Vista / Windows 7 compatible.

alt text
(64px sample)

And here it is sitting snugly in my taskbar:

alt text

Grab it here

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I'll let you into a secret... I'm a chrome devotee. I use the "application shortcut" features.

To ensure you get into your rooms (since the lobby is a bit fiddly at the moment), I recommend using /chats/join/favorite?app=1 as the start route (i.e. this page on your chosen chat site).

Desktop notifications (for chrome) are now there. This just leaves the lobby... let me see if I can find a way to detect a chrome application shortcut...

Edit: hmmm - detecting app-shortuct windows looks impossible at the moment; for now, I've added ?app=1 to the route above, which cheekily makes the "all rooms" link open in-place. This is just while I think of something better...

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