I have tried and given up on Google’s Chromium based browser several times. The failing grade always has come from the same issue – creating stand-alone web applications from web sites. “BUT WAIT” you scream at your computer in hopes I will hear – “Chrome has web applications shortcuts built right it!” Fortunately, I do not hear you. However, I did some digging and found an answer – actually, I found something that let me search form something more which eventually helped me to create an answer.
I create an application shortcut in with a Chromium based browser to Google Reader. I launch the new shortcut and login and tell it to save my password. I then launch a standard Chrome browser. But wait, it is logged in with my user and password from the Google Reader web application. I don’t want that ! I really don’t want it. What happens when I launch my GMail application shortcut ? I have a different user and password for my personal GMail account. Chrome is meant to have these all as separate processes. Why it it sharing all this stuff?
Firefox with Prism solves this by creating separate profiles. It turns out, Chromium can do the same. All you do is go ahead and create the application shortcut. Next right click on the shortcut and edit the properties. Find the “target” that specifies the program and command line options and edit it to be something like the following:
“C:\Program Files\Google\Chrome.exe” –app=http://www.google.com/reader/view/ –user-data-dir=”..\Local Settings\Application Data\Chromium\User Data\GoogleReader”
For each web application shortcut, you will replace “GoogleReader” with an appropriate folder name.
The above is for Chrome v3. Depending on what version of the Chrome browser you are using, the root of the user-data-dir seems to vary. One website listed it as “..\User Data\<name>” but that placed my results in an odd place. If all else fails, you can do what I did and temporarily give it a unique name, run it once, and then search for wherever the directory gets created; then adjust the target to get it where you want. You don’t need to have it with other chrome profiles so you may want to create a separate area for your web application shortcuts.
With this little addition, I now have “web applications” for my Google Reader, Google Voice, GMail, my router’s control page, my NAS’s control page, my printer’s control page, ….. I guess you get the idea.
Oh yeah, one more thing. I don’t actually run Google Chrome. I use SRWare Iron – the more private build of Chrome !