Updates to Mac Chrome application shortcuts and the iOS fullscreen webapp generator

Written by Bracken King

Today I just wanted to mention updates to two utilities we've posted previously. The first comes courtesy of Mait Vilbiks who has generated an easier to use version of our Mac Chrome application shortcut generator (download the updated version from here). The second is an update to include iPad support for our fullscreen webapp generator for iOS (directly available at www.lessannoyingsoftware.com/tools/iphone/).

An easier to use Mac Chrome application shortcut generator
For reasons that aren't entirely clear, application shortcuts are disabled in Chrome for Mac. To get around this problem, we previously posted a shell script that was able to generate Chrome application shortcuts from the command line. In addition to the terminal being a bit daunting, this script was pretty finicky about spaces in filenames and had some other undesirable quirks. Happily, Mait recently posted an improved version of the tool in the comments of the original post:

I have a couple of friends (recent PC defectors), who I knew would start bugging me with questions, so I set out to make this a little friendlier using AppleScript, and ended up with a pretty much usable application. I'm posting this file here absolutely "AS IS", source included, I'm not taking any responsibility if it breaks anyone's system or something else happens. It works as intended for me and a couple others so I thought I'd share it, should be quite safe.

In addition to giving it a much more familiar interface, it also fixes some of the bugs in the previous script such as those preventing spaces in application names. The usage of the new version of the tool should be pretty straight forward. Start by downloading the .dmg, and opening the image. Inside, you should find a readme file, a script called createGcApp, and the source folder. Double-clicking the script will prompt you with questions about name, url, and icon for the application shortcut (make sure it's a square if you include an icon). The resulting file will then be saved to the /Applications folder. Thanks so much to Mait for sharing this much easier version.

iPad Fullscreen Webapp Generator
A few weeks back, we posted a new tool that lets you create webapp shortcuts on your iOS homescreen that act more like native apps. When launched from the homescreen, webapps created through the tool will appear in fullscreen, and can be backgrounded and switched to like other apps, rather than existing as tabs in Safari.

That original version supported iPhone and iPod platforms, but we've recently extended it to work on iPads as well. Neither Tyler nor myself own an iPad, so it's been a little tricky to develop, but I'm pretty sure things should work as they do on the other platforms (thanks to Nate for testing things out for us on his). To get started, just head to the webapp generator page to create an app. After doing so, you'll be instructed to save a shortcut to your home screen. When you launch the app from the homescreen, you should get a full screen, dedicated version of the website you inputted. Here's an example using GMail:

As a reminder, the webapp generator only works for sites that are entirely in AJAX (including Gmail, Buzz, and Youtube). If you've created apps already, they should work on your iPad without any changes. If you run across any problems, let us know in the comments

Enjoy.

Posted on Jan 18, 2011
Filed under Blog
Share: