A site-specific browser (SSB) is a software application that is dedicated to accessing pages from a single source (site) on a computer network such as the Internet or a private intranet. SSBs typically simplify the more complex functions of a web browser by excluding the menus, toolbars and browser chrome associated with functions that are external to the workings of a single site. These applications are typically started by a desktop icon which is usually a favicon.
Site-specific browsers are often implemented through the use of existing application frameworks such as Gecko, WebKit, Microsoft's Internet Explorer (the underlying layout engines, specifically Trident and JScript) and Opera's Presto. SSBs built upon these frameworks allow web applications and social networking tools to start with desktop icons launching in a manner similar to standard non-browser applications. Some technologies, including Adobe's AIR and JavaFX use specialized development kits that can create cross-platform SSBs. Since version 6.0, the Curl platform has offered detached applets and the EmbeddedBrowserGraphic class which can be used as an SSB on the desktop.
One early example of an SSB is MacDICT, a Mac OS 9 application that accessed various web sites to define, translate, or find synonyms for words typed into a text box. A more current example is WeatherBug Desktop, which is a standalone client accessing information also available at the weatherbug.com website but configured to display real-time weather data for a user-specified location.
On 2 September 2008, the Google Chrome web browser was released for Windows. Although Chrome is a full featured browser, it also contains a "Create application shortcut" menu item that adds the ability to create a stand-alone SSB window for any site. This is similar to Mozilla Prism (formerly WebRunner), now discontinued, but which is available as an add-on to the Firefox browser version 3.
Examples of applications of SSBs in various situations include:
Utilities that produce site-specific browsers:
Site x.com y.net Accept from x.com y.net Deny Site * Deny
Rich Internet application (RIA) platforms: