What you need to know
- Developers can now package their PWAs to use the new Chromium-based Microsoft Edge for the Microsoft Store.
- The functionality is in preview now through PWABuilder.
- Using the Chromium-based Microsoft Edge should result in better PWAs through the Microsoft Store.
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 (opens in new tab) and the Google Play Store (opens in new tab). Will also shares other examples and details on how to get started with the process in his post.
Sean Endicott is the news writer for Windows Central. If it runs Windows, is made by Microsoft, or has anything to do with either, he's on it. Sean's been with Windows Central since 2017 and is also our resident app expert. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And now I can not delete the SimpleEdit)
Yeah I have the same problem :-/
Hmmm maybe now edge uwp can replace edge w42
What is the reason for not supporting live tiles?
Probably they haven't implemented it yet, they might over time.
It's not yet available and may come later. They're going on a case by case basis on features to implement based on dev usage and interest.
"Microsoft invested significant time, effort, and resources to improve the Chromium web experience on Windows 10." If only they would invest just a little time for the android version....
I've been pretty happy with Edge on Android. Besides no tab synching yet (which I read is coming), any specific complaints?
Edge for Android is a UI mess and way heavier than Chrome.
I've been pleasantly surprised by how useful PWA's have been. So I'm happy to see things move forward like this. Also, I wonder how much Google hates it now that I have Google Maps and Google Photos functioning in a very app-like manner on my PC. Who needs ChromeOS - or even Android (unless you're on the go)?
Don't install the SimpleEdit app. You can't remove it once you do. Likely a bug but still annoying.
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