Microsoft Updates PWABuilder
Written by Kay Ewbank   
Monday, 29 April 2019

Microsoft has updated PWABuilder, its open source tool for converting Web applications to Progressive Web Apps (PWAs). which act more like native desktop/mobile apps with the help of several technologies.

PWAs are web apps that have native app-like features on supporting platforms and browser engines, such as launch-from-homescreen installation, offline support, and push notifications. When run on Windows 10 with the Microsoft Edge engine, PWAs run independently of the browser window as Universal Windows Platform apps.

pwabuilder

PWA Builder scans your website to create a full manifest, handles image sizing, and tracks specs to make sure you’re building the most up-to-date manifests and Service Workers. You can then use PWA Builder to package the app.

The updated version of PWA Builder has been reworked with a new design that is more user friendly. The updated version has a hub page that shows info on your manifest, service worker, and basic site security. It also has links to some of Microsoft's top snippits. 

New snippits have also been added to let developers use new web APIs such as the Web Share API and the async Clipboard API. Snippits are small code extensions that are available from a Feature Store, and that  can be copied and pasted into your app. You can use them to add extra features to your PWA. Microsoft recently added a number of Microsoft Graph snippits to the range, and has now extended the choices further. 

The term PWA was originally coined by Google, and is used to describe hybrid apps that lie somewhere between a mobile app, a normal Website, and a desktop app, making use of the best features of each option. This makes PWA Builder a little odd as it isn't particularly strong on mobile support. Writing in a blog post about the new release, Microsoft's Justin Ellis said that this is:

"Because the app has historically been desktop focused, but we are slowly working on making sure it works well on mobile. The 2.0 update has some improvements in this area, but we have many more coming."

Ellis said that version 2 improves this situation:

 "We now have advanced APIs that help our apps deliver first-class experiences on users' devices, on mobile and desktop"

He also said that things will be even better in the 2.1 update which is under development. This:

"will include a new way to easily package your PWA as a Trusted Web Activity to enable you to ship your PWA to the Google Play store."

 

pwabuilder 

 

More Information

PWA Builder Website

PWA Builder On GitHub

Related Articles

PWA Becomes TWA And Enters Play Store

Progressive Web Apps Do Seem To Be The Next Big Thing

Google Starts Its Push To Progressive Web Apps - Bye Bye Chrome Apps

JavaScript Async - The Fetch API

All A Flutter - Google's Cross Platform App Framework Ready To Go

 

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Last Updated ( Monday, 29 April 2019 )