Flotato is a wildly clever way to get web apps on your Mac

I've been playing with a new application for Mac called Flotato, and it's very funny and so smart in the way it works that I wanted to share it. Flotato is a way to create small (or large) application windows for applications that you normally use in a browser tab. It is light and easy to use once it is wrapped, although it takes a minute to understand it because it works differently than what you are probably used to.

There are many possibilities that a significant part of computing on your Mac happens within web applications, probably in tabs. The eyelashes are great, but they are also the worst. Operating systems have spent 30 years creating user interfaces that facilitate launching and switching between applications, but much of that effort has been scrapped. Apps like Gmail, Google Calendar, Asana, Twitter, Feedly and many others could end up lost in small tabs set.

The trick is to take these web applications and divide them into separate windows, something like custom web browsers for a single application. Over the years, there have been many solutions for that, including Fluid, if you want to run your own account or Electron, if a developer just wants to package all of that for you. But there are problems with those solutions. Electron, especially, has become the source of anger because it can add a large amount of additional overhead beyond what a simple browser tab would do.

Now, there is a new solution called Flotato. It does practically the same as those other applications, giving it a separate application window for each web application that you want to use. But the focus of Flotato is so novel and ingenious, I think it's worth trying, even though it is still in its initial development.


flotato is a wildly clever way to get web apps on your mac

When you start Flotato, it shows you a variety of possible web applications with a small button that says "get." When you click on that button, Flotato creates an application for that in your Applications folder. web application you chose and log in. It's pretty simple, but what you're really doing is amazing.

To create a new Flotato application, you literally duplicate the Flotato application on the Mac. Search and rename that copy. When you open the application whose name has changed, Flotato guesses which web page you want to open according to the name of the application and opens it (you can configure it manually in the preferences if you need it). It's just a super smart way to create new web applications, and it's much simpler than other methods.

It also does some pretty good things with icons. and automatically the icon to something appropriate for each application, often a high resolution favicon. For certain applications, you can automatically add credentials for unread messages. Google Calendar is changed to today's date. If you wish, you can configure the application icon to be seen live in a custom cutout of the web page (for example, if you track a stock or web traffic, that number may be visible in its base). [19659008] Floating windows are deliberately chrome-free, and I say it literally and metaphorically.

Literally, there is no chrome in the user interface. Even the small stop light buttons are hidden by default. It makes the applications look like they are floating (hence the name). You can configure it to request desktop or mobile versions of a web application, which allows you to have very small and narrow windows for certain applications, if you wish.

Metaphorically, Flotato uses the native Mac WebKit engine, so in theory, it should be much less expensive on its processor and RAM than Electron applications or, in some cases, Chrome tabs. There are some additional software tricks in addition to using the rendering engine of the operating system, but it is still much lighter than Electron. The developer of Flotato Morten Just tells me that it is faster because "there are no add-ons, the browser renderer is not included, there are no javascript bridges, the bottom of the bookmark is not synchronized, only a webview of Webkit 2 with customizations out of the way ". "

Anecdotal evidence shows that" Flotato for Twitter [uses] only 10% of Chrome's memory usage running the same application "and apps like Trello can be much smaller in size. It simply tells me that, in some cases, Flotato also uses the mobile version of the pages, which can also reduce its use of resources. My own anecdotal evidence shows that Slack uses about half the RAM in a Flotato window than in its Electron application.

As I mentioned, Flotato is quite early in its development. I use several Google accounts, and the interaction between Flotato's attempt to automatically set the URL by the name of the application and its cookie structure has caused me some headaches. For example, I can not sign in to Feedly because it uses my personal Gmail for authentication, while other Flotato applications use my Gmail job.

Recently, Chrome on the Mac again had the ability to create a "shortcut" for a web page or web application that could be opened as a "separate window". In effect, it allows you to take the web applications you have in a tab and convert them into a separate "application" on your Mac. You can find it in the three-point menu under "More tools".

I've been using these Chrome apps a lot, but while they're convenient, it's debatable that they're actually lighter than Electron apps. I have not tried Flotato to see if I want it to be my main way to use web applications. But after using it for a couple of weeks, I can see its potential.

Flotato is free if you create some applications, then it's $ 14.99 for a pro version that allows unlimited applications. If you have a lot of things buried in tabs, it's worth taking a quick look, if only because it's really fun to play with them.

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