Microsoft is testing Progressive Web Apps for the Microsoft (Windows) Store and will be adding the solution to Windows 10 Redstone 4. Of course, that version of the platform is currently in testing. Redstone 4 will launch this spring and the new implementation will be part of the major update.
Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) are web-based applications that are enhanced with modern features. They are regular web page that can be used like a traditional or mobile application.
Back in October, Microsoft confirmed it was working with Google to develop its own PWAs solution for Windows 10. Now the company has reiterated its ambition to launch Progressive Web Apps with the Redstone 4 release. However, Microsoft is eager to say PWAs are not replacing Universal Windows Platform (UWP) apps:
“Given the overlap in terms of capabilities, we often get asked about the recommended approach: PWA or UWP. We see this as a false dichotomy! In fact, on Windows 10, the Universal Windows Platform fully embraces Progressive Web Apps, because EdgeHTML is a foundational component of UWP,” the company says.
— KIRUPA 🍊 (@kirupa) February 1, 2018
While Redstone 4 will not become the next full-fledged Windows 10 until the spring, it is in testing. Windows Insiders have been enjoying new Redstone 4 features for months. Progressive Web Apps will be introduced in an upcoming Insider preview build. Microsoft says that will happen in the next few weeks.
When that happens, PWAs will be listed in the Microsoft Store, available to Insiders only. However, all Windows 10 users will be able to browse them in the store like any other app.
PWAs on Windows
In technical terms, PWAs will be in the form of appx packages like all other Microsoft Store apps. They will run in an individual sandboxed container that will allow them to also enter the Start Menu and Cortana.
“Over the coming months, we’re laser focused on polishing our initial implementation of the core technologies behind PWAs in EdgeHTML and the Universal Windows Platform—Service Worker, Push, Web App Manifest, and especially Fetch are foundational technologies which have a potentially dramatic impact to compatibility and reliability of existing sites and apps, so real-world testing with our Insider population is paramount,” Microsoft says.