One of the new enhancements in Redstone 4, the upcoming fifth feature update for Windows 10, is the addition of support for Progressive Web Applications (PWAs) in the Microsoft operating system.
PWAs are not new. Google has made them available in Chrome and when recognized a shortcut can be pinned to your Desktop, Start Menu, or Taskbar to fire up the app in a chrome-less (no browser frame) window.
Microsoft’s implementation of PWAs involves adding what are called Service Workers that will allow these PWA apps to perform actions like push notifications, caching, and fetch networking. This allows these PWA apps to have features like Live Tiles, Alert Center notifications, and background updates. Since these apps are using your served based app, you do not have to issue an update to the Microsoft Store each time there is a change in the service. Instead you update your service on the web server and that updated capability is immediately available to the app users.
Twitter’s PWA, which was released a couple of weeks ago as an open beta for Windows Insiders on Redstone 4 and 5, has used this method to give users new features 3 or 4 times. In that same time frame, only one Microsoft Store update was shipped for the Twitter PWA app and this was a minor update.
Part of Microsoft’s plan around PWAs is to crawl the web and look for these websites that behave pretty much like native apps, and when they are discovered they are added to the Microsoft Store.
Well as discovered by Aggiornmenti Lumia, Microsoft has begun that process and 14 apps have been added to the Store in the last few days.
Here is the list from the Italian Aggiornamenti Lumia site:
- Student Doctor Network
- The Penny Hoarder
- Men’s Wearhouse
Now there is nothing earth shattering in this initial collection although as a Space geek I like seeing Space.com’s PWA in there.
However, this is just the early stages of this move for Microsoft to bring in PWAs so expect this to continue to ramp up as we move forward and following the release of the Windows 10 Redstone 4 feature update in the next couple of weeks.