As you may have noticed, we do most of our computing through web browsers now. Web apps and websites can do everything, from checking email to watching videos to creating spreadsheets to viewing movies.
Think about what desktop applications you regularly use. For many, it will likely be a photo editor, web browser and possibly an office program. The trend towards working in the cloud has already become the norm. (Microsoft even lets you stream Windows through a web browser now.)
It’s possible now to install some well-known web applications on Windows, macOS or Chrome OS. We’ll explain how to do this using progressive web apps (or PWAs).
Progressive web apps can be described as a specific type of web app. PWAs are not available for every application that you could run online. An online app must be developed in a specific way and follow a set of standards to allow it to function as a standalone desktop program.
Twitter, Spotify and Google Chat are some of the most well-known PWAs. But, there are many others. PWAs are promoted by both Microsoft and Google, which is understandable. It’s therefore the best way to get them up and running is via the Microsoft Edge or Google Chrome browsers.
You won’t notice a big difference when you go from browsing Twitter through a browser to viewing it via a PWA. PWAs run websites in a wrapper for a desktop application, which means that a lot the functionality remains the same. You can treat PWAs as desktop apps, which has a few benefits.
This allows you to manage your apps from the taskbar, dock (macOS), shelf (ChromeOS) and more. PWAs allow you to manage notifications sent from these apps at an operating system level. They can also be treated differently than notifications that come from your browser. These apps will be listed on your main app list. You don’t have to open your browser to access them.
These PWAs are essentially a combination of the simplicity and slickness of web apps, with traditional desktop app format. It’s sort of the best of both worlds. Moving some of the most important apps into separate windows may help reduce the browser load and minimize the amount of tabs open.
This doesn’t mean you won’t want the PWA over the browser every single time. It all depends on your use of the apps. You can check at a glance which sites support PWA.
You can create shortcuts for online apps which aren’t compatible with PWA from your desktop. For example, in Chrome chooseAdditional toolsAndMake a shortcutYou can access the site from your main browser menu. You will need the progressive web application to enjoy the best experience.
We’ve already said that not all web applications can be installed using PWAs. However, if you visit a site that’s packaged this way you will see an icon that looks similar to a down-arrowing arrow drawn by a computer in Chrome or a plus sign drawn by a grid in Microsoft Edge, just below the URL address bar. PWAs cannot be set up as desktop apps with Firefox or Safari at the moment.
You can see the text by hovering over the icon of the browser that you are using.InstallOr (in Chrome).App availableIn Edge Depending on your operating system, click on the icon to confirm and the app will be added to your taskbar, dock or shelf.
All contents from the page you are currently viewing will be transferred to the new PWA Window. If you are listening to music in Spotify for instance, it will continue in the new window. The same tweet that you saw in Twitter PWA will also appear in your new app. Only difference? The app now appears outside your browser.
You can still use these web apps from your browser. However, if you open a website that has been installed as a PWA you will see an arrow in the address bar. To open the current page in the desktop app, instead of a browser tab, click the button.
After you have installed the PWA you will be able to use it as a desktop application. To get more options, right-click the icon in your taskbar, dock or shelf. You can pin the app to the taskbar in Windows. Or have it start at the same moment as your macOS operating system.
You can open a PWA to access limited options. Click the three dots in the toolbar. The menu that you see depends on whether the app was installed using Chrome or Edge. You can control permissions (access to your camera and location) in both cases.
Instead of multiple tabs in browsers, your new PWAs will allow you to work with multiple windows. You can also treat them like any other desktop application. Windows allows you to drag the title bars to either the right or left edge of your display, to bring it up to that area.
- The latest on tech, science, and more: Get our newsletters!
- A people’s history of Black Twitter
- The push for ad agencies to ditch big oil clients
- Virtual reality lets you travel anywhere–new or old
- I think an AI is flirting with me. Do you think it is OK to flirt back with an ai?
- Why the first Mars drilling attempt came up empty
- Explore AI like never before with our new database
- WIRED Games: Get the latest tips, reviews, and more
- Our Gear Team’s top laptops, keyboards and typing options will help you improve your productivity.
Publiated at Sun, Sep 5, 2021 11:03 PM +0000