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Tuesday, February 06, 2018
Microsoft to Bring Progressive Web Apps to Next Windows 10 Build

In the next release of Windows 10, Microsoft plans to begin listing Provresssive Web Apps (PWAs) in the Microsoft Store, packaged as an appx in Windows 10.

Microsoft first taled about Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) a year ago. PWAs could be considered as web sites that can behave like native apps - or, perhaps, Progressive Web Apps are just apps, powered by Web technologies and delivered with Web infrastructure.

Technologically speaking, PWAs are web apps, progressively enhanced with modern web technologies (Service Worker, Fetch networking, Cache API, Push notifications, Web App Manifest) to provide a more app-like experience.

Unlike a "packaged" web app experience, PWAs are hosted on your servers and can be updated without issuing new updates to an app store. Additionally, new web standards (such as Service Worker) enable interoperable ways to implement push notifications, support for offline scenarios, background refreshing, and more, without platform-specific code. At a high level, these features are built to enable native-like capabilities - offline, background wake/refresh, instant loading, push notifications, and installability.

Microsoft believes PWAs are key to the web's future. And today, the company provided updates on previewing PWAs in Windows and its roadmap to bring PWAs to the Microsoft Store.

The company wants to make PWAs discoverable - this means they should appear in the Microsoft Store alongside native apps.

In the next release of Windows 10, Microsof intends to begin listing PWAs in the Microsoft Store. Progressive Web Apps installed via the Microsoft Store will be packaged as an appx in Windows 10 - running in their own sandboxed container, without the visual or resource overhead of the browser.

PWAs installed via the store will appear in "app" contexts like Start and Cortana search results, and have access to the full suite of WinRT APIs available to UWP apps. They can differentiate their experience on Windows 10 with enhancements like access to local calendar and contacts data (with permission) and more.

In addition, listing a PWA in the Store gives developers the opportunity to get more insight into their users with channels like reviews and ratings in the Store, analytics on installs, uninstalls, shares, and performance, and more. It also provides more natural and discoverable access to web experience on devices where the browser is a less natural entry point, such as Xbox, Windows Mixed Reality, and other non-PC form factors.

Developers will be able to submit Progressive Web Apps to the Microsoft Store. The Microsoft Store, powered by the Bing crawler, will automatically index selected quality Progressive Web Apps.

Microsoft has been using the Bing Crawler to identify PWAs on the web for nearly a year, and has identified a small initial set of Progressive Web App experiences which will be indexing for Windows 10 customers to take for a spin over the coming weeks.

In terms of capabilities, PWAs have similarities with Mcirosoft's Universal Windows Platform (UWP). But on Windows 10, the Universal Windows Platform fully embraces Progressive Web Apps.

For developers who are building a fully-tailored UWP experience, building from the ground up with native technologies may make the most sense. For developers who want to tailor an existing web codebase to Windows 10, PWA provides an on-ramp to the Universal Windows Platform that doesn't require demoting or forking existing web resources.

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