Microsoft plans to make Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) a major part of the new Chromium Edge browser experience. Because it is now Chromium, development is shared with other browsers on the web rendering language, including Google Chrome. In a new proposal, Microsoft Edge engineers have proposed a tool for help Google more efficiently integrate PWAs with Chrome.

Specifically, Microsoft wants to add URL Protocol Handler Registration support for PWAs on Chromium. If a PWA is registered with the URL Protocol Handler, the app will open when the user clicks a hyperlink with a scheme such as web+music://.

For example, if you want to access a music service that has a PWA, you can click a link and your device will open the app. According to Microsoft, the protocol handler has the following benefits.

  • “Cross app integration. A user opens a document using a PWA. The document contains a link to a presentation (ms-powerpoint://deck2378465). When the user clicks on it, the presentation PWA automatically opens in the correct scope and shows the slide deck.
  • In a native chat app, the user receives a link to some magnet:// URL. When she clicks the link, an installed torrent PWA is launched.
  • A user has installed a PWA for a music app. When a friend shares a link to a song and she clicks on it (web+music://songid=1234&time=0:13) the PWA will automatically launch instead of opening a new tab in the browser.”

Microsoft already supports protocol handler on Windows 10 and has its own services registered. For example, users can click Office links with the handle ms-officeapp and ms-getoffice.

Run on Start

Last month, Microsoft introduced the ability for PWAs to Run on Start.

Currently available in testing on Chromium Edge, the feature will be available when PWAs are installed on a PC. In other words, it’s currently an option. Microsoft could make it a default eventually, but we think its good users get the choice. The feature would also be available on Chrome for log-ins.