Fluid + Hahlo

The best Twitter interface, in my humble opinion, is (currently) Hahlo: a web application designed for the iPhone that uses the Twitter API to offer an alternative skin for the service. There’s a lot I like about the way Hahlo approached the UI. So much so, that I started missing those features when Twittering from the desktop.

Hahlo iconThat’s where Fluid comes in. I’m certainly late to the game here, but Fluid is a pretty handy little Mac application. It allows you to create Site Specific Browsers for web applications you use. These SSBs are then available as a dock icon or menu bar item, as if they were standalone desktop applications.

Each SSB has its own preferences and User Agent settings, and they’re conveniently untethered from your main browser of choice, able to be command-tabbed to, and unsusceptible to browser crashes caused by other sites. Fluid uses Webkit for its rendering engine, which enables it to work with iPhone web apps.

It rocks in combination with Hahlo, but also for other often-used web apps. Thought I’d mention it here for other potential late-to-the-gamers.
Use Fluid with other apps? Do tell.


  1. Ethan says:

    Yep, absolutely: most Airbaggers use Fluid with Campfire for virtual “your mom” joke swapping—I mean, for chatting about project issues and whatnot. I’ve personally tried it with a few other apps like Google Reader, but it’s never worked that well for me. Might have to check it out with Hahlo, though–that’s brilliant.

  2. Travis says:

    I’ve used Fluid with Mint for the past year or so. Creates a great standalone stat app, that I can leave in a Space (Mac) all day without worrying I’ll accidentally close it.
    PS – The creator of Fluid, Todd Ditchendorf, has a Twitter profile = http://twitter.com/itod

  3. David Martin says:

    Great idea, using it with Hahlo. I’ve been a steady user of Fluid App for all of the Google Office applications. gMail runs great in it, the dock icon even shows how many new messages I have.

  4. I don’t use it myself (yet) but have set up for a couple of co-workers so that they can use Google Reader with Fluid. It shows the unread count in the dock icon.
    I plan to use Fluid with Google Apps when the Google Gears situation gets finalized. I don’t want to hook any beta stuff into webkit. Now that Google Chrome is on the scene, I figure Google’s top priority will be to have GApps work flawlessly in webkit, which hasn’t been the case up till now.
    Fluid+Gears (offline)+GApps will be a pretty sweet combo.

  5. I’m a big fan of Fluid + Basecamp, as well as with Google Docs.

  6. Yep, using it with Basecamp and Backpack. Really handy.

  7. Kevan Emmott says:

    Google Mail, Google Calendar, Google Documents, Google Reader, Grooveshark Lite, Mint, Outlook Web Access (work)… Some apps don’t work with it very well, they keep trying to break out and spawn a new window. I’m curious how Google Chrome will work on the Mac – I’m using it at work with a lot of the same apps and it’s a slightly better experience (though without the cool windowing features that Fluid has).

  8. Rick Curran says:

    I use Fluid to keep my SVN dashboard on Beanstalk. I also have them setup for all the gApps as well, it’s basically like having a browser that runs each window in a separate process which sounds kind of familiar ;)

  9. Dan says:

    Fluid + Socialthing is great for twitter plus other social networks

  10. Jeremy says:

    I use Fluid with Google Reader and the gReader theme from John Hicks. Works pretty well, except that with a recent upgrade, Fluid no longer recognizes my high-res icon that I use in the dock.

  11. Phill says:

    You know, that sounds alot like Prism (http://labs.mozilla.com/projects/prism/).

  12. Mike says:

    I use the iPhone version of MovableType as a menubar extra through Fluid to post entries to my site.

  13. Josh says:

    I use Fluid for a PBWiki I use for a team at work. It’s great having one-click access in the menubar for quick edits.

  14. Tim says:

    I use Fluid + Brightkite. The iPhone UI is way more intuitive :)

  15. I use Hahlo with Fluid as an app that runs in the menu bar.
    Fluid has scripts built into it that use Growl to notify you of new tweets that come in. Very nice.

  16. I use fluid + SlimTimer…works great for keeping track of billable hours.

  17. Matt Braun says:

    Like others, I use Fluid with Google apps and Hahlo (as a menubar item), along with Assembla and (occasional) Facebook. Would love if Fluid had Gears, though I may be looking forward to Chrome on OSX more.

  18. I too am also just starting to use Fluid and am loving it. We use Zimbra email at work, and I just set it up using Fluid. I know I could download the desktop version, but I like having all my email online so I can check it from several locations.

  19. Dave Simon says:

    I use Fluid with Yammer since we started using Yammer in house. I made it into a menu bar app. VERY handy.

  20. I mostly use Fluid with my Backpack account, which I usually leave open most of the time. This allows me to also switch over to my Basecamp accounts as well thanks to the universal navigation bar at the top of 37signals products.
    The not-so-obvious use I have for Fluid though is when I want to watch something on Hulu and I don’t want it to be in a browser tab. Of course, I could just open a new window of my browser, but I like the fact that Hulu can run in a self contained application in case it crashes or I need to place it on top of other windows.

  21. Tobz says:

    I use Fluid for netvibes, Gdocs, facebook and proworkflow(project manager). its a great tool and in a much better state than prism

  22. Jim Thorpe says:

    Along with most of the ones named above, I’ve found that Del.icio.us works nicely with the Thumbnail plugin. makes things pretty useful.

  23. Hey Dan, thanks for mentioning Fluid. Glad you discovered it!
    All: for instructions on how to install a Hahlo-Fluid Userscript see this screencast: http://www.viddler.com/explore/itod/videos/11/

  24. KiltBear says:

    I just wanted to send out another shout for Hahlo. I find it is still the best Twitter client for me. I just wish they would wrap a(n) SSB iPhone app around it to facilitate account login, geo-loc, and TwitPic integration.

  25. Gil Creque says:

    Thanks for the idea. I’m using Chrome instead since I’m Windows.

  26. Stan says:

    Fluid is brilliant for the BBC iPlayer. Unfortunately you need to be UK based.

  27. Apart from a lot of the above mentioned uses, I also use Fluid to access documentation for code. Very handy, as you generalle tend to have them open for a couple of hours. Having multiple tabs, and each of them remembering their positions, is extremely nice.
    You can even use fluid to access locally stored documentation if you’re so inclined :)

  28. Zachary says:

    I love combining Fluid with 37signals products, especially when using Open ID to link the products together. Can quickly switch between Backpack, Basecamp, and Highrise, all in the same window.

  29. Danny says:

    To me, this sounds like a great idea until you look at the RAM being used for each Fluid “application” you’ve created. Sure it’s nice to have that web application on your dock for easier access but when you compare a website tab open at 2-3M and an Fluid application at 25-30M, it begins to add up. Being a print and web designer, I constantly have Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, Firefox, Coda, xScope and others… not to mention my non production/design apps such as iTunes, Mail and Safari.
    My point is that RAM is precious and having more unnecessary apps doesn’t make sense to me. What I like to do is have different windows and have my web applications such as Twitter, Ma.gnolia and Ta-Da List on a different window and treat that window as my applications page. What do you guys think?

  30. Rob McM says:

    I have been using fluid for lots of apps, Hahlo is one of them, although I use it in the menu bar.
    One I found the other day was phpMyAdmin, which is really handy.
    Be sure to check out the flickr pool for icons!

  31. Michael Innes says:

    I haven’t tried Fluid yet, but does it act in roughly the same way that Chrome does with converting web pages to stand-alone applications?

  32. Stephanie says:

    Wow, thank you for sharing this! I have been complaining since I moved to Mac a year ago that I can’t alt tab to different browser windows, now I can!
    AND I can get to Gmail from Quicksilver now.

  33. Stephanie says:

    Hahlo looks cool but prompts me for my twitter password. Is this part of Jeremy’s dreaded password anti-pattern?

  34. Chris Coyier says:

    Yeah man, top notch idea. I’ve been using a Fluid-made app for Status as well. I made a video tutorial on how I did it (very simple of course).
    Status + Fluid Video

  35. In addition to Fluid+Hahlo, I’ve been using the Google Reader with the iPhone user agent. It’s been handy for testing the local iPhone version for the app we’re working on, BatchBook.
    I tried Hahlo out a long time ago, but only recently came back. Can’t believe I wasn’t using it all that time. It’s darn near perfect.

  36. Ian says:

    How are you guys getting Google Docs to work with Fluid? I get a message that the browser doesn’t work with Documents… and if I use the ?browswerok=true URL modifier, I get stuck at “Loading…”. Ideas?

  37. Andy Ford says:

    I use Fluid with a local version of my home baked “FontChart” to help with the crazy math of working with EM’s

  38. Boaz says:

    I like where Brian Christiansen is going.
    I just got Fluid working with Google Docs and Gears. I was so pumped until I went offline and found that you cannot create a new document unless your online. Hopefully Google will remedy this soon. I’m writing a quick article on this for the next issue of the html times
    Also, Stephanie: command tilde is the mac equivalent of alt tab in windows.
    Also Ian: that is odd. Google Docs worded just fine as an SSB on the first try. Do you need to upgrade your OS?: