Home 15 Fluid Apps You Can Build for Your Business

15 Fluid Apps You Can Build for Your Business

Fluid is a simple application for creating site-specific browsers (SSBs) on your OSX desktop. Fluid definitely wasn’t the first SSB project and was inspired primarily by the Mozilla Prism project.

The advantage with an SSB is that you can take almost any Web application you use heavily and get it out of your browser, reducing tab usage, avoiding crashes, and generally improving workflow. Fluid is really for anyone, but the low barrier to entry and the effect it has on productivity make it an attractive tool for getting things done. Though it’s been around for a while, few businesses have really taken advantage of its full potential.

Fluid supports advanced features such as user scripting, but you don’t need to be a programmer to get some decent apps up and running quickly. All you need to do is give Fluid a URL, a name for your app, a location on your machine, and an icon. That’s it.


Especially for Gmail and Yahoo Mail users, a Fluid app can be the answer to your woes. Programs like Mail and Mozilla Thunderbird are great, but they fail to replicate the true experience that Web-based email programs deliver.

It’s super-easy to build and extend an email app in Fluid, and far superior to any of the AIR apps for Gmail or Yahoo. If you don’t have the time to really trick it out, there’s the shareware software Mailplane, which is also built on Fluid but has a few more bells and whistles. Correction: turns out Mailplane isn’t built on Fluid, though it is an SSB.


Giving you and your coworkers desktop access to whatever wiki you happen to be using is a definite win. You get the easy access (minus mobile) of something like Evernote, plus the infectious power of wiki linking and collaborative creation.

One of the real beauties of using a Fluid app for your wiki experience is that it works with almost any provider, from installations of free software MediaWiki to closed-source hosts like PBworks, Wetpaint, and Wikispaces.


Google Docs and Zoho Writer are perfectly suited to becoming Fluid apps. Bringing either of them (or whatever online word processor you prefer) to the desktop makes it much more competitive with the experience of Microsoft Office or Open Office.

Tasks & To-do Lists

A Fluid app works great for any of the software-as-a-service task tracking and to-do list tools, such as Remember The Milk or Ta-da List from 37Signals.

File Sharing

If you’re a fan of file sharing and syncing software like Dropbox, Box, or Mediafire, then a Fluid app is right up your alley, giving you a much faster way to get to your files. The only top-notch file sharing service that Fluid might not be compatible with is drop.io, since each new drop has its unique URL, though can return to them.

RSS Reader

There are a lot of really great free RSS readers for Mac available. But if you’re an addict of Web-based readers like Google Reader, then Fluid is the perfect way to stick with it but still get desktop access. The optional Cover Flow thumbnail viewer in Fluid can really spice up the feed-reading experience as well.


This is especially good if you’re seeking to develop a shared calendar for your company. The various solutions for creating a shared calendar with desktop software like iCal are embarrassingly difficult compared to the five minutes it’ll take you to create a Fluid app to access your Google Calendar.

Customer Service

Customer service mavens, rejoice. Instead of hunting through your many tabs to respond quickly and comprehensively to customers, you can just build a simple Fluid app for Get Satisfaction, Zendesk, or even an OTRS system.


Yes, there are definitely some impressive desktop blogging apps, but they’re almost all geared to power bloggers and rip out the familiar interface of WordPress, TypePad, or Tumblr. Taking five minutes to make a Fluid app is a good way to get a fast, free, functioning desktop blogging experience. I should know, since I published this post from a Fluid application.

Business Intelligence

Depending on how you’re tracking business intelligence information now, it might be a good idea to create a Fluid app. To create a custom business intelligence dashboard with Fluid might take a little more hacking, but it’s well worth it to get a quick hands-on resource.

Project Management

There are so many Web-based project management apps out there, it’s impossible to really catalog them all (at least via blog). But what most of them don’t have is a robust desktop version. We use Basecamp here at ReadWriteWeb, and Fluid works great for that or whatever service you might be using.

Enterprise Microblogging

Twitter for the enterprise is a rapidly-evolving category of software. Several of the top options — such as Socialtext Signals, Yammer, and Socialcast — already have good desktop apps. But if you’re seeking one not based on Adobe AIR or something slightly more customizable (without having to work with an API), then Fluid is a good approach to take.

Bug Tracking

Fluid jives with most of the bug and issue tracking software out there, including JIRA, Trac, Bugzilla, and Redmine. Features like Growl notifications and the optional menu bar icon might be especially nice additions to a bug tracker app.

Code Repository & Review

Fluid works just fine for accessing heavily used coder resources such as Github. It’s also great for code review and code repository tools like Crucible and FishEye from Atlassian.

Social Networks

Of course, Fluid also works really well for anyone doing marketing and customer service work through social networks such as Facebook. Despite the multitude of Twitter apps, it might also be appropriate if you’re using one of the Web-based solutions like CoTweet’s business-focused platform.

Further Resources

There you have it! As you can probably tell, Fluid works best for the kind of rich Internet applications that you access repeatedly in your workflow, ones that sit in your browser all day and that you come back to again and again.

If you’re looking for more ideas or resources, be sure to take a peek at the unofficial Fluid wiki, the site itself, or the Flickr group for free Fluid icons.

About ReadWrite’s Editorial Process

The ReadWrite Editorial policy involves closely monitoring the tech industry for major developments, new product launches, AI breakthroughs, video game releases and other newsworthy events. Editors assign relevant stories to staff writers or freelance contributors with expertise in each particular topic area. Before publication, articles go through a rigorous round of editing for accuracy, clarity, and to ensure adherence to ReadWrite's style guidelines.

Get the biggest tech headlines of the day delivered to your inbox

    By signing up, you agree to our Terms and Privacy Policy. Unsubscribe anytime.

    Tech News

    Explore the latest in tech with our Tech News. We cut through the noise for concise, relevant updates, keeping you informed about the rapidly evolving tech landscape with curated content that separates signal from noise.

    In-Depth Tech Stories

    Explore tech impact in In-Depth Stories. Narrative data journalism offers comprehensive analyses, revealing stories behind data. Understand industry trends for a deeper perspective on tech's intricate relationships with society.

    Expert Reviews

    Empower decisions with Expert Reviews, merging industry expertise and insightful analysis. Delve into tech intricacies, get the best deals, and stay ahead with our trustworthy guide to navigating the ever-changing tech market.