Review: Fluid for Mac turns Web sites into basic Mac apps, making them easier to access

Convert your favorite Web sites into OS X apps with just a few clicks and get rid of all those annoying Safari tabs.

Fluid for Mac turns your favorite Web sites into Mac apps that you can run as standalone OS X desktop apps. If running Web apps like Facebook, Pandora, or Gmail in a separate tab of your Web browser annoys you, you'll love the practicality of this easy-to-use application. Don't expect it to create iPhone-like apps, though.

Once you've installed Fluid for Mac, turning a Web site into a real Mac app is an easy process. Just enter the URL of the site, type a name for the app, choose a location, and an icon, and that's it -- no programming knowledge required. The Web site is transformed into a basic Mac app that you can place in the Dock area and conveniently access without having to run Safari. Click on a newly-created app and it will run in an app window, rather than as a tab in your Web browser. For testing purposes we created a standalone Gmail app for our mail account. It took us less than a minute to create an app and no problems were encountered. The created app was basic, but it provided the same content and features as the Web platform on which it's based. Fluid sets the Web site's default favicon as the icon for your newly-created app, so you may want to choose one that's a bit better quality. If you stick to the trial version of the app, don't expect too many other options besides the ability to update the information at intervals. In the paid version, however, you will have a few extra features such as the ability to create apps with separate cookie storage -- very useful if you want to create separate apps for each of your e-mail or Facebook accounts.

Fluid for Mac helps you create a Mac app of a site, not a shortcut. It's a big difference. Shortcuts still require a Web browser, while real Mac apps don't. Overall, Fluid is an intuitive program, one that you should definitely try out.

Editors' note: This is a review of the trial version of Fluid for Mac 1.7.2.

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