Twitter says its new Progressive Web App (PWA) represents 'renewed commitment to Windows'

Late in March, Twitter released the first update in some time for its Windows app, revamping it from the Universal Windows Platform (UWP) app initially launched in 2015 to a Progressive Web App (PWA). The move to a PWA means Twitter can more quickly implement new features, and the app was finally updated to support more recent tweaks like increased character counts for tweets, bookmarking, and more. But it turns out that Twitter also sees this move as part of a larger push to support not only Windows users, but a more cohesive strategy across all of its platforms.

Progressive Web Apps (PWA): What they are, and what they mean for Microsoft

To coincide with the release of the Windows 10 April 2018 Update and its official support for PWAs, Twitter engineer Charlie Croom officially announced the revamped experience in a new blog post. "This release represents a renewed commitment to Windows that has been long overdue and is part of a longer-term strategy to reach greater feature parity to all of our platforms," Croom said. "We wanted to make sure the app represented a modern Twitter experience, while taking advantage of unique Windows features, like support for Windows native APIs such as share integration, pinned tiles, jump links, and more."

Over the past several weeks, the new Windows experience has seen quite a few updates, which is a good sign after the UWP app languished for some time. Croom says that Twitter will be adding more features in the coming weeks and months, including one of the most requested additions: night mode.

As for those still using prior versions, they're no longer available for download starting today and will no longer be supported starting June 1. Windows 8.1 users are encouraged to either update to Windows 10 to access the new app, or move to using Twitter via a browser. Legacy versions of the official Twitter app for Windows phone will also lose supported as of June 1.

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Dan Thorp-Lancaster is the former Editor-in-Chief of Windows Central. He began working with Windows Central, Android Central, and iMore as a news writer in 2014 and is obsessed with tech of all sorts. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DthorpL and Instagram @heyitsdtl

  • The UWP-App was way better than this renewed PWA!
  • Does anybody have the appx bundle for it?
  • Doesn't matter cause they say they will switch of the backend API for the app on June 1.
  • Both have their pluses and minuses, but the thing is, the UWP version was dead, while the PWA version is being actively developed. If you think it's worse now, at least you know it's going to get better.
  • The UWP app has a dark theme and no ads.
  • 1. That's the third time twitter said this.
    2. Why now with Windows? What's changed?
    3. How much did MS pay twitter to say this? 😂
  • What's changed is that most of the development is cross-platform. The Windows specific part is not a huge investment in resources.
  • Wouldn't "commitment" be a native app?
  • The combination of PWA with UWP apis is a much better solution for a web based service. It means the app gets the base functionality updates that roll out for the website for free and immediately. A completely native app would be an inferior experience for end users over time, in the specific set of circumstances that apply to twitter. The fact that MS is making it this easy for pwas to hook into uwp apis is a massive win for *everyone* and the fact that twitter is putting in the effort to take advantage of it is a pretty big sign of faith in the Windows platform. So far they're the only ones doing so.
  • This. This is the way apps should be made. Not recreating a client in a single platform at a time, but reusing an existing framework on the original web service. Facebook should be next, IMHO.
  • Absolute Yes to Facebook!
  • Keep telling yourself that. Why are they still making native apps for Android and iOS if PWA is better?
  • Android and iOS don't support PWAs natively in their stores yet. When they do as well as Windows, the PWA will go there as well.
  • Because Google Android will be releasing support for PWA in the next version of Android v 8.1 or something.
    Apple will be releasing PWA support in late 2019.
  • Twitter just announced they ended support for its MacOS app. Why did you not mention that? PWA will go to Android and iOS too. If you think Twitter is doing all this PWA stuff for Windows alone then you're naivete is quite striking.
  • Daniel? How in the world could his naiveté be striking?
    Are you seriously surprised to see nonsense from him?
  • Nonsense? I am not the one trying to say that abandoning native development is a good thing for the platform.
  • Not like UWP was actually relevant anyway...
  • I do not follow Apple news as I do not use any Apple products. I use Windows and I do not see the advantage of losing native development. It isn't a good thing. That is an argument only someone indebted to Microsoft would try to make. PWA is the final nail in the UWP coffin. That also makes WoA a losing proposition. No native WoA apps hands the advantage to ChromeOS. PWAs are not going to be a differentiator as they will be available everywhere anyway.
  • Who said anything about losing native development? PWA aren't going to magically replace UWP and at the same time some apps make sense as PWA (which still hooks into UWP APIs). Having PWA at the very least opens the door to a native app being made if it needs to be more powerful and the demand is there. Having PWA isn't meant to be a differentiator. Assuming it catches on, the whole point is that the "app gap" would be less of an issue as it was apparently one of the biggest issues for WP/W10M. The other plus, if it catches on, is that developers technically can't just build an app and then ignore it for a specific platform as has been the case for WP/W10M.
  • Twitter is dropping native development for PWA. That is basically the point of this article. The PWA is far inferior to the UWP it is replacing. This isn't a good thing, it actually increases the app gap!
  • You're trying so hard to find something to rebunk.
  • Honestly, there shouldn't be apps at this point. Even most games can be handled brilliantly by Web standards. We just don't need apps in 2018. The sooner they're gone, the better.
  • This is completely laughable. "Renewed commitment", my fanny. No, it's just proof they want to be LAZY. It's proof they want to DUMB everything down. The PWA is horrible. Which is why I'm sticking with Tweetium on my devices.
  • And these tech writers somehow want to make it look like it's a world changing thing. They say PWA is similar to native apps as they make use of notifications, offline capability, live tiles, and most importantly "etc.". These reasons are not enough to consider it as a replacement for native apps. Why would I use PWA when I can get a better experience on a web browser (with an adblocker)? I saw a video on PWA where Daniel said that there are certain apps like Uber which you would use only on certain occasions and that's where PWA makes sense. I partially disagree here, as instead of installing and keeping the app, I can just go to the website and get the thing done. PWA makes no sense on Windows.
  • But you're wrong and are on the wrong side of technology. So there's that.
  • Care to give a few reasons he's wrong? (ya know, like he gave reasons for his opinion). At this point your statement is pure retaliation. For the record, I agree with him; can you give me a good reason to-for all practicable purposes - install a website on my PC?
  • Well that's one way to put forward your arguments, just retaliate without any solid reason. we all remember how u defended bots at one time.
  • Well, bots were the next big thing, all guys at WC here were barking how great they are and how apps won't be needed sometime in the future :)) Where's that completely blind trust in those bots Daniel? Faded away? :)) When MS F** up this time too, what's gonna be the next big thing you guys are gonna write about?
  • If you weren't keeping up with the news with things like Cshell, Andromeda, polaris, etc, the idea is that windows will come in all shapes and sizes. It's no longer just the desktop at home/work or a traditional laptop. Sure, if going to twitters website is easier on your desktop then you can keep doing that. But personally for me, if I have a smaller form device that has wifi/LTE then it's easier to open an app then type in a website.
  • If your argument is based only on the ease of access, wouldn't you just screen pin the website instead when basically they both are the same things (plus the pros if on a web browser). You can put lipstick on pig, but it's still a pig.
  • Windows is dead. Therefore, Cshell and Andromeda and Polaris are dead, too.
  • Don't expect WC guys to ever say that PWA is not that good. It's the last hope for that junk app store on windows, it's what these fanboys ever dreamed of, to see some stuff in that store :)), no matter it's a dumb down PWA or other crap ported apps. Fot them every junk coming out of MS is the future :))) though, until now almost every time MS tried to "be" the future they failed monumentally. Wow, Twitter says they are committed :)) One down, 10000000 left to go :))
  • Sadly, I can't seem to find a dark theme setting.
  • There is no dark setting. And many other features are missing too.
  • Did you guys read the article? They are working on it.
  • It says they are working on "night mode".
  • Oh, there working on it, yeah that is nice... But why do they replace the app if the new one has half the features of the old one?
    If they had put half the work in the old app instead of building a new one, we would have a great UWP app.
  • So they are like MS, they release something before it is ready, still if MS can do that with Windows 10, why can't others?
  • So pwas will work with the servers? If they are down or closed pwa fails.
  • If Twitter's servers are down then everything is. Your comment confuses me
  • No. A good PWA works without the servers.
  • What is the point since PWA will be for web based content?
  • App isn't running very well for me on my 950.
  • It's not meant to.
  • Windows 10 Mobile is not a priority for Microsoft anymore so any PWA that gets there, will be a hit and miss.
  • I've sad it before and will again pwas are the future and I'm glad that a company like Twitter is showing how to make a good one.
  • What about Facebook and Instagram for pwa treatment?
  • That would be cool, but have you tried the mobile Facebook app lately? It's very very good. Besides notifications, and a live tile, I don't know what it doesn't offer.... Oh, and FB Live, but Live is for gicks.
  • Commit. And don't speak about it, costs you less.
  • What does this mean?
  • Well, they talk about commitment which often doesn't come as a surprise but then this app itself isn't that impressive over the UWP predecessor.
  • Well there has been multiple updates since its first release, so there's some action there. The other thing PWA is generally still pretty new, so it will improve.
  • PWA's will induce growing pains. PWA's will at first lack some features of native apps. Hang tight and mark my words - they are the future.
  • If i used twitter, why would I use an app on my computer instead of twitter in a browser? The same with facebook and facebook messenger, I use it in the browser and would not think of using an App on my PC.
  • For "computer" / desktop use, the browser is fine, especially for something like Facebook that started out as a browser experience. But as you move to smaller devices, the benefits of an "app" experience become more obvious.
  • In case you have forgotten, Windows phones are dead. Ok there are small tablets that runs windows, but is it worth using apps on them?
  • I would, yes. It's OK if you won't. PWA from Facebook's / Twitter's point of view is more about steamlining their development costs going forward then anything else. This would be true for every company that produces an "app". For now we will see multiple versions available for you to choose from. As time goes on, there will be just one.
  • I think I will give them a miss. I prefer using the browser.
  • I have a three monitor PC and the Twitter app is great. I can keep it open in the corner of one of my displays while I'm working and browsing, far neater and easier than having a Chrome window open just for Twitter. Or rather it was great because the new app seems to be a bit broken. The big issue is it does not refresh, which the open app did. I can't just glance at it and see if there are any new Tweets from people I follow. There is no notification. I have to click on Notifications then back to Home and only then do new Tweets show up.
  • By the way: They will stop supporting W10 Mobile starting with June 1st. You could have mention that in the article
  • At the end of the article it says June 1st.
  • I hope others follow this lead.
  • What happened to all the "just use the website" comments that used to be the default retort anytime a lack of apps was mentioned relating to the Microsoft store?
  • Now they're turning websites into apps, or something. If Google backs it fully it might actually be a thing, if not it's DOA. MS might be jumping into the PWA thing first, but they don't have a viable app store so they have motivation to try and populate it with something. I think Google is preparing for after Android- project Fuschia, whatever you want to call it, so PWA might be in their future as well.
  • Yes Google is fully backing PWA ( In fact it was a Google Chrome engineer, Alex Russell, that coined the term "progressive web app" (at least according to Wikipedia).
  • The way i see it PWA is aimed at always on, pick up where you left off, cross platform 5G/LTE connected devices in the not too distant future, think courier or surface pocket PC and forget about native apps as they hog more resources.
  • Hope MS gets on board and start releasing tools for devs to fully embrace PWAs like VS Studio project templates that have defaults that support Live Tiles, Location etc.
  • As i recall microsoft said adding new features to windows 10 mobile is not a focus. So maybe they can still add support for PWA's, maybe it's not so complicated (I'm not a developer so i don't really know). I started a petition, if someone feels the same please sign:
  • Kudos to Twitter! Apps like Twitter are perfectly suited for UWP. Some apps are not. My hope is for a day when PWA, UWP, and even MS vetted Win32/64 apps are sold side by side on the app store. I'd personally like to see the death of malware infested download sites. I just hope MS is reaching out to other companies on PWA. In particular... Starbucks, Intuit (for Mint), Voxer, all major Credit Card companies, all major banks, and all major Airlines.