A real popular type of software can be used to aggregate different messaging apps together. Skype, Instagram, Snapchat, E-Mail & even Meetup can be integrated into one static window. It is known as a workspace browser. Apps are placed together into one program, viewable like tabs on an internet browser, except it is compatible with some software which in the past could only be used when it is installed on a computer or phone.
What software allows me to combine apps?
Meet the workspace browser; a static browser of web-based apps and a few embedded software. These are popular within the productivity niche where people are trying to save time using software. The important and key difference between a web browser and a workspace browser is “static”. Usually when you open up Google Chrome or Firefox you have to type or click bookmarks to get to a website. With a workspace browser all web apps and softwares are already there:
This is a mild version of how it looks to use a workspace browser. You are the one who gets to choose which messaging apps, software & web apps are on the static workspace. On my computer’s Linux OS I have more apps, including Slack, Twitter and Facebook where I can check all of them much faster and in one go around. The idea behind a static browser is to save time/effort and put all the notifications from all the apps together as one. When I open my workspace browser I can see how many total messages I have from all of my apps. This allows me to not miss a message from any of my apps.
This is not a sales pitch, the app is free…
Meet Rambox & Franz
The above picture is actually an open-source program called Rambox. It is customizable depending on your programming skill. A premium and more supported version for the less technically savvy(Rambox is not that tough though) is Franz. With Franz you pay for more apps added to the browser and with Rambox you can add as many as you like with no consequence or charge. In the end the two do the same thing. Honestly the only reason to pick Franz is if you don’t know about Rambox or you are not technically savvy. Overall, these two programs are the best workspace browsers I have been able to find with hours of searching the web.
On both of them you can add custom services or web apps to the static browser. It is not too technical and it becomes simple with practice; the custom tabs/apps are simply a url made into a static tab with notifications. If you want to add meetup.com with notifications just click “add custom service” and paste the URL into it. Both Rambox/Franz take the notifications from the website and place them within your workspace. The same is true for LinkedIn, Discord & Google Calendar. Here is the Franz pricing:
If you would like to try a workspace browser Franz comes with a trial which I recommend to get the idea behind a workspace browser. Then when the trial is over switch to Rambox. That way you get a low tech introduction and a highly customizable finish before it is integrated into your lifestyle. But for some reason, you may like to stick with Franz, so let’s pit them against each other. Firstly remember, Rambox free edition has more features and Franz requires payment for more apps. Here are the prices for Rambox:
Most of these functions even to the professional level are free with Rambox Community Edition. Here are a few things Franz has that Rambox does not. Firstly Franz is more intuitive, has customer support, is not supported with Linux and has ads in the free version. You can give another person the ability to manage apps, messaging and social media with it. But in my experience it is likely best to try another software to manage social media in teams. Even Rambox Pro does not have good team support which if you require team management Franz is the way to go.
Both of these apps are getting better with time. Discord, LinkedIn, MeetUp, FB Messenger, Google Voice, GMail and others work really well. Even android text messages work. The key issue and feature I say is under development is the Android SMS. I say it is in development because it only works when the phone is connected to Internet & Mobile data at the same time. Personally I do not get signal in my apartment so this feature only works literally when I throw my phone out the window(Very frustrating). If you happen to have internet and a mobile signal it will work with no issues.
Other apps to try
A great place to see other software is with alternative.me. I use this to find similar software of all types. The function of alternative.me is to help you find other software with the same applications. There you can see alternatives to Rambox & Franz. The most notable is Pidgin. Like Rambox it is cross platform but it is a messaging aggregator and not a workspace browser. You can give these programs a shot.