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Microsoft Edge PWAs are about to look more like native Windows 10 apps

Edge Dev Hero 2020 Newfeature
Edge Dev Hero 2020 Newfeature (Image credit: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • Microsoft Edge will soon support an option to make progressive web apps look like native apps.
  • The feature will allow developers to customize the title bar of progressive web apps.
  • In addition to looking better, the option improves the accessibility of progressive web apps.

Microsoft Edge will soon support a feature that will allow progressive web apps (PWAs) to look more like native Windows 10 apps. The feature will let developers customize the title bar area of PWAs. The feature is on the way, according to Techtsp that managed to see some technical documents on the feature with information from the Microsoft Edge team's Amanda Baker.

The title bar on PWAs takes up space and isn't tremendously functional. Apart from the basics of minimizing, maximizing, or closing a window, it doesn't have much in terms of features. A new feature called Windows Controls Overlay should fix that. The feature will let developers add things like a custom search box, a logo, or navigation controls, according to Baker's statements in the technical document.

Source: Techtsp (Image credit: Source: Techtsp)

Not only will this provide more functionality and look better than the current implementation, it will also improve accessibility. Baker says in the document of the current implementation, "If the user has a visual impairment and increases the zoom level of all content on the screen, this is even more of an issue."

Techtsp notes that it could be weeks or months before we see this feature generally available. It is, however, already available in chrome://flags.

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 sean.endicott@futurenet.com.

6 Comments
  • More improvements are always welcome.
  • Maybe this will fix Disney+ on my Pro X. Error 83 right now. Worked before so ...
  • This is a small but nice improvement. Well maybe it's not so small, since the whole point of PWA's is to make web apps look native. The question I have is: Will Google bother to use this new functionality? A good chunk of my PWA's/pinned web apps are Google services.
  • How is this going to be standardized across different browsers? Or is this going to be a Chromium-only feature?
  • Well, I guess it's chromium only. Since Firefox dropped their work on PWAs.
  • PWAs, and the ability to install sites as an app via Edge, are some of the most welcome features to come to Windows since the death of everything related to Windows Mobile. Windows tablets become more functional, my main desktop is more functional using "apps" instead of bookmarks, and even my media PC that's hooked up to my big screen TV is more functional by being able to turn sites for streaming video into pinnable full screen apps without the clutter associated with web browsers. Improvements are definitely welcome!