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Google Chrome added in its last version (Canary or dev channel) the possibility to install Chrome Web Apps, some are already included into the delivered install pack (Calendar – GMail – Docs) and this short blog gives you the easy steps to activate this features and create your own.

WebApps

Chrome Web App. Remember this works only on Chrome Canary and dev version

1. Activate web app

Modify the shortcut of Google Chrome (I’m doing it on a Canary version) and add the following string –enable-apps and launch Chrome

Activate WebApps

2. Install default applications

Open the extensions tab (Settings -> Tools -> Extensions) and click on developer mode, a new toolbar will be visible.

Install extensions

Click on “Load unpacked extension…” and browse to the following folder

%USERPROFILE%\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\Application\[Version]\resources                      (Vista, Windows 7)

%USERPROFILE%\Local Settings\Application Data\Google\Chrome\Application\[Version]\resources    (Windows XP)

Install WebApps

3. Launch Web Application

Now in Chrome Home page you will have some shortcuts that launch the application in ping mode

4. Create your own Web Application

You can create your own Chrome Web Application in very few steps. In this example I create a new Chrome Web Application linking the SAP SCN Community Network

Basically the crx extension file is a particular zip archive with a manifest file manifest.json and some icon files.

File manifest.json

{
 "name": "SAP Community Network",
 "version": "1.0",
 "icons": {
 "128": "/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/128_83289.png",
 "24": "/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/24_83268.png",
 "32": "/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/32_83269.png",
 "48": "/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/48_83288.png"
 },
 "app": {
 "launch": {
 "web_url": "http://www.sdn.sap.com"
 }
 }
}

name is the label displayed into the Chrome Home Page

version is not really important for Chrome Web App

icons is the list of icons included into the application, each icon is named with its pixel size

web_url is the link used into the app

Then you have to create the PNG icon files (24, 32, 48 or 128 pixel)

/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/24_83268.png

/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/32_83269.png

/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/48_83288.png

/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/128_83289.png

Put all the files together into a folder. (In my example C:\Documents and Settings\<%user%>\Desktop\SAPSDNCommunity_app)

5. Create the install

Close your Chrome browser and execute from the shell

C:\Documents and Settings\<%user%>\Local Settings\Application Data\Google\Chrome SxS\Application>chrome.exe --pack-extension="C:\Documents and Settings\<%user%>\Desktop\SAPSDNCommunity_app"

This shell command will create two files SAPSDNCommunity_app.pem and SAPSDNCommunity_app.crx

6. Install your application

You have done, install the crx as did with before and your Chrome Web App is ready to go.

WebApps03.png

Conclusion

It is not clear what kind of potentiality these Chrome Web Apps would have, I’m trying to identify a business scenario were these apps are really useful (t.i. link to SAP Portal), btw having a shortcut as a Chrome Web Apps is more professional.

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