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Create a Fluid-style app launcher for single-window Chrome instances on OSX

View makeapp.sh
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#!/bin/sh
 
echo "What should the Application be called (no spaces allowed e.g. GCal)?"
read inputline
name="$inputline"
 
echo "What is the url (e.g. https://www.google.com/calendar/render)?"
read inputline
url="$inputline"
 
echo "What is the full path to the icon (e.g. /Users/username/Desktop/icon.png)?"
read inputline
icon="$inputline"
 
 
 
 
chromePath="/Applications/Google Chrome.app/Contents/MacOS/Google Chrome"
appRoot="/Applications"
 
 
 
# various paths used when creating the app
resourcePath="$appRoot/$name.app/Contents/Resources"
execPath="$appRoot/$name.app/Contents/MacOS"
profilePath="$appRoot/$name.app/Contents/Profile"
plistPath="$appRoot/$name.app/Contents/Info.plist"
 
# make the directories
mkdir -p "$resourcePath" "$execPath" "$profilePath"
 
# convert the icon and copy into Resources
if [ -f "$icon" ] ; then
sips -s format tiff "$icon" --out "$resourcePath/icon.tiff" --resampleHeightWidth 128 128 >& /dev/null
tiff2icns -noLarge "$resourcePath/icon.tiff" >& /dev/null
fi
 
# create the executable
cat >"$execPath/$name" <<EOF
#!/bin/sh
exec "$chromePath" --app="$url" --user-data-dir="$profilePath" "\$@"
EOF
chmod +x "$execPath/$name"
 
# create the Info.plist
cat > "$plistPath" <<EOF
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<!DOCTYPE plist PUBLIC "-//Apple//DTD PLIST 1.0//EN" “http://www.apple.com/DTDs/PropertyList-1.0.dtd”>
<plist version=”1.0″>
<dict>
<key>CFBundleExecutable</key>
<string>$name</string>
<key>CFBundleIconFile</key>
<string>icon</string>
</dict>
</plist>
EOF
 

Gmail works quite well in this and copy/paste images works. Nice! Thanks much.

guyjz commented

Hmm.. this works great for the dock icon, but doesn't affect the icon that appears when command-tabbing between apps.

It does, but it's not consistent. It reverts after a while. I haven't locked down when it comes back except for after a reboot. I tend to leave it running for long periods of time. If I think about it and notice a pattern I'll add it to this.

On a different note, is there any way to get the address bar to show? I didn't notice anything in the script that looked like it should disable it. Maybe something is needed in the plist. This is a minor minor minor issue. If you have some ideas on what to look at I can search for it.

Owner

I've had that same thing happen from time to time. It appears to be related to opening new tabs/new windows within that session, but I can't consistently replicate it. Sometimes it falls back to the standard Chrome icon and other times it doesn't.

guyjz commented

It consistently doesn't work for me at all. I.e. the icon in the app-switching overlay when command-tabbing invariably shows only the generic chrome icon. Which makes it very annoying and difficult to navigate using the keyboard between several such apps...

I'm using chrome 19 (beta) in case that makes any difference.

Perhaps. Mine was generated with one of the versioni 18 builds. It always starts at least with the new icon. Have you gone back to the app with get info and pasted in the icon you want to use?

guyjz commented

How can I paste an icon there if it was created from a png file?

It already appears fine in the get info box: http://cl.ly/3p2L271n2o0c3P3E3t1t

Does it work as a standard Chrome application shortcut?

guyjz commented

Which would make sense. I actually didn't know about Chrome application shortcuts until I did a little digging around and saw it available. But for Windows. Not for Mac. Of course. Which is why this gist is here. :) If the site is public I could try it out on my build and let you know if it works. Is it asana.com? And is that .png around somewhere? (OT: asana.com looks pretty neat if that is the one you're looking to use.)

guyjz commented

Must be something about the build of Chrome you're on then. That worked for me. The icon shows up in the app switcher with command-tab, shows up in Alfredapp's app list when typing asa…, etc.

Aha, the problem is that some people are using input images that aren't square.

This should fix the problem:
sips -s format tiff $icon --out $resourcePath/icon.tiff --resampleHeightWidth 128 128 >& /dev/null

I created a gist of the fixed version:
https://gist.github.com/4568525

Thanks for the script!

That's awesome thanks for sharing this !
I started to use application shortcuts on windows a while ago and was really unhappy not to be able to use them on my mac.

Does the result of this script store cookies separately from the main chrome app as you can do with the paid version of Fluid or are they shared?

@nine9ths: it looks like they're separate, I have to lot in to each

larki commented

Hi, great script! I have one problem though (besides the icon sometimes resetting to the standard chrome icon): I would like to assign the app to a specific desktop. To do that you can right click on the icon in the dock, go to options and choose "This desktop". This works for every app, except for the one created with your script...it doesn't give me the option "this desktop". Any idea how to fix this?

Hey, good job! Unfortunately it doesn't work for Chrome Extensions, like the Any.Do app. It opens the "oops, couldn't open.." window. First I thought it might be the string being handled wrong, so I hard coded it into the script and could even see the right URL in the Menubar while loading. But again "oops.." Any thoughts about it?


Edit: my fault - of course it doesn't work. The created app is not aware of any installed extensions, because it's working with a new profile. I had to install the extension to the newly created profile.

Owner

This has been updated. I added @sanfordredlich's fix for non-square images and also added the ability to use an app name with spaces in it.

dep commented

This works great but sometimes the App icon gets lost and the Chrome icon will show up in its place. Very odd. Though looks like this issue is already well mentioned here.

One of the ways of consistently losing the customized icon is by downloading a file or invoking the "open file" dialog. I reported the issue here:

https://code.google.com/p/chromium/issues/detail?id=302884

The problem I am encountering with the app shortcuts created with this script is that my main Google Chrome installation thinks that it is already running when one of the app shortcuts is running, so it will not launch. Maybe there is a setting for Chrome that allows for multiple copies of Chrome to run simultaneously?

If profile data is stored within the application itself it is not possible for non-admin users to run it. Changed the script https://gist.github.com/eerne/8222446 to store the profile data in the users home directory at "~/Library/Application Support/<appname>/<randomnumber>/".

Just, thank you. I've been struggling with Fluid.app for days because it's user agent does not support Wunderlist. With this script I created a wunderlist standalone app in 1 minute. Thank you so much.

Is there a way to get notifications & app name in the menubar working ?

Sorry to ask stupid questions. but how do I make an app out of that code?

You can follow this video on Lifehacker, but download the script here and extract it. It's a good idea to create a folder called "Scripts" and place things like this in there. I also have a subfolder called App Icons. Basically you extract file, open terminal and follow the video instructions. http://lifehacker.com/5611711/create-application-shortcuts-in-google-chrome-for-mac-with-a-shell-script

is there any way to have chrome to open new windows in a tab? not liking the 'new window' bit...

Thanks so much for this—now I can use chrome extensions in a FluidApp-esque fasion! Good work!

Thanks for the awesome script! Does anyone know how to make the tab bar show in the ssb? Using this to make a standalone Gmail :)

The instructions still say that the app name can't include spaces while that's no longer true

why does this open in a different profile? how can I get it to open in my default profile?

Thanks!!

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