Progressive Web Apps are revolutionizing apps for Windows and other platforms. They are a new kind of app based on the latest web technologies. PWAs are websites and web apps that you can open in separate taskbar windows outside browsers much the same as native Universal Windows Platform (UWP) apps. With the Redstone 4 update rolling out, the first Microsoft PWAs have gone live in the MS Store.
Microsoft had already stated that it intended to release the first PWAs in the MS Store to coincide with the Redstone 4 update (otherwise Spring Creators Update). Thus, it is not a big surprise that 14 new Progressive Web Apps are out now. These are the first PWAs in the MS Store:
- Student Doctor Network
- The Penny Hoarder
- Men’s Wearhouse
Microsoft intends to bring PWAs to more than 500 million Windows 10 devices, and the Bing crawler will automatically index them on the MS Store. To ensure that Windows 10 fully supports Progressive Web Apps, Redstone 4 updates Edge’s rendering engine with EdgeHTML 17.
This will give the platform all the latest web technologies, such as Push notifications, required for PWAs. After the update, the PWAs can fully utilize the WinRT API suite just the same as UWP apps.
However, you do not need to wait for the Spring Creators Update to run the new PWAs. The Progressive Web Apps run on Windows 10 version 10240.0 or later.
You can utilize the PWAs on PC, hub, Hololens and mobile devices. Below is a snapshot of the Oyster PWA open in Windows 10, which opens the Oyster site in its own separate app window.
Despite the numerous advantages of PWAs, Microsoft insists they are not replacing UWPs. A post on Microsoft’s Windows Blogs states, “For developers who are building a fully-tailored UWP experience, building from the ground up with native technologies may make the most sense.”
Yet, most software publishers would probably prefer to develop PWAs that can run on all platforms instead of UWP apps restricted to Windows 10 devices.
Progressive Web Apps will greatly expand the number of apps on the MS Store, which would address its shortfall of apps. With the likes of Google fully committed to Progressive Web Apps, it might not be that long before the first PWAs for Gmail, Google Calendar and Google Drive arrive on the MS Store.
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