Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Webrunner -- Is all the fuss worth the effort?

What is Webrunner?
Webrunner is a fork of Mozilla (the basis for Firefox) which is designed to make web apps like GMail and Google Docs appear to be more like desktop (local) apps. It claims to use native widgets for things like buttons, making the page more closely follow the theme of the desktop. How is it working? Let's take a look.

Webrunner's Look
Take a look at the following screenshots:
A couple of the buttons at the top of the screen look nice, but the rest of the page looks the same.
Google Docs

Again, a couple of buttons at the top (and no URI bar or menus).

The Facebook pages look identical to the non-Webrunner version.
Yahoo Mail

Yahoo won't let us do the Beta (because the browser is "unsupported ... meh!), but even the normal buttons don't appear different.

What does it mean?

Let's compare the appearance of several other applications rendering the web. Konqueror gets the same look without requiring a separate application.

While I think that the idea of Webrunner is great, it's an alpha product that will supply nothing users can't get from Konqueror or Safari right now. Even Epiphany (the default Gnome browser) users get most of it, like the scroll bar in the following screenshot.


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