Microsoft recently announced a major step forward for Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) that are available through the Microsoft Store. Earlier this week, Microsoft announced the first preview of the new PWABuilder Windows Platform. This update allows developers to easily package PWAs powered by the new Chromium-based Microsoft Edge to the Microsoft Store.
Right now, PWAs that are available through the Microsoft Store use the old EdgeHTML rendering engine. Microsoft is working to bring Chromium Edge-based PWAs to the Microsoft Store, which should result in more responsive applications.
Microsoft invested significant time, effort, and resources to improve the Chromium web experience on Windows 10. This next step to allow Chromium-based PWAs into the Microsoft Store builds off of those efforts and takes advantage of some of the work that Microsoft has already done.
“We are now fully embracing Web Standards APIs and ensuring those APIs work great on Windows,” said Justin Willis in the Medium post announcing the update. Willis also shares some examples of functionalities that developers can use with standard Web APIs:
- Shortcuts (previously called Jumplists)
- Protocol handling
- URI handling
- File Type Associations
- Share Target
- Web Bluetooth
- Web Share
- File System Access API
- App Badging
- And many more!
The new Microsoft Edge also supports web APIs such as Web Components, WebGL 2.0, and the Clipboard API, all of which should work with PWAs powered by the Chromium-based Edge.
One advantage of using web standard APIs is that when developers work to improve their app on Edge, the benefits can also translate to other Chromium-based browsers and platforms such as Android and ChromeOS.
Notably, there are some features that work with PWAs powered by EdgeHTML that will not work if switched to be Chromium Edge-based. These features include:
- No support for Live Tiles
- No splash screen
- Missing Analytics in the Partner Center
To showcase the new functionality, Willis shared his own app, SimpleEdit, which is now avaialble in the Microsoft Store and the Google Play Store. Will also shares other examples and details on how to get started with the process in his post.
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