Progressive Web Apps are actual websites but they look like native applications. PWAs sits somewhere between web wrappers and native applications. PWAs are more powerful than web wrappers but less feature rich when compared to native applications. The best thing about PWAs is that they are “platform independent”. Just like normal websites PWAs work similarly across all platforms that support it. This means that any developer who develops a Progressive Web Application does not have to develop it for other platforms.
This sounds exceptionally good for a platform like Windows which doesn’t have a lot of applications in its Store when compared to the App store of other platforms. Of course, there are more than 16 Million apps developed for Windows but they are Win32 apps and that’s not what we are talking about right now.
Recently, Microsoft has published Progressive Web Apps into the Microsoft Store. This is the first release of Progressive Web Apps for Windows 10. These PWAs will be available in the Microsoft Store for users with their PCs running on Windows 10 build 1803 (Redstone 4).
The first group of Progressive Web Apps released in the Windows Store includes:
- Student Doctor Network
- The Penny Hoarder
- Men’s Wearhouse
Progressive Web Apps will not be fully functional on Windows 10 Mobile
The interesting news is that these apps are also available in Windows 10 Mobile. This would undoubtedly shed some ray of hope for those Windows 10 Mobile users. But the problem is that Windows 10 Mobile simply doesn’t support PWAs. This means that even if these apps are available in the Microsoft store for Windows 10 Mobile, they would simply appear as Web-Wrappers and not as Progressive Web Apps. So Windows 10 Mobile users will have to be online to use these apps.
The Edge engine in Windows 10 Mobile doesn’t support Service Workers. So the users will not receive notifications from the apps. Also, Edge browser in Windows 10 Mobile doesn’t support offline caching, which means that the apps will not work offline. In short, the PWAs that Microsoft releases in the Windows Store will be available to download for Windows 10 Mobile users too, but those apps will not be fully functional.
“Whether a dev deploys to mobile is up to them – certain features like Push and Service Worker won’t work on in-market W10M devices,” Kyle, who works at Microsoft Edge said in a tweet.
There’s a trick to enable Microsoft Edge PWA service workers in Windows 10 Mobile but it is not enough to run PWAs. “Not meaningfully in those releases. The flag is the very first step of the engineering work and those are substantial features (fetch is basically a whole new networking model),” Microsoft Edge engineer explains.
Microsoft has already confirmed that there will not be any new features coming to Windows 10 Mobile. So we cannot expect to get support for PWAs in Windows 10 Mobile.