Microsoft is turning Progressive Web Apps into Windows apps

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Microsoft is turning Progressive Web Apps into Windows apps

"With our commitment to transparency and control, users can now delete the Windows Diagnostic Data that Microsoft has collected from your device", Dona Sarkar wrote in today's blog post on the new Insider Preview build.

The recent Windows Insider Program builds of Windows 10 started supporting PWAs, while the next public Windows release is expected to begin listing PWAs directly in the Microsoft Store.

It was over a year ago when Microsoft outlined its plans to bring Progressive Web Apps (PWA) to Windows 10. Microsoft notes that the calibration tool is in its early stage, and that it is particularly interested in any feedback on the tool as it gets it ready for a broad release.

PWAs are basically web apps that behave like native apps, able to work offline, send notifications and be installed on PCs.

"Just download the Authenticator App and use it to set up your Windows 10 S PC", instructed Dona Sarkar, head of the Windows Insider Program, and Brandon LeBlanc, senior program manager at Microsoft, in February 7 blog post.

The Redmond based tech giant have announced that the upcoming Microsoft Office 2019 software suite will ONLY work on Windows 10. The firm has already combed through some 1.5 million web apps to pick out a small selection of PWAs for initial testing. They are typically hosted on servers "and can be updated without issuing new updates to an app store", Microsoft's announcement explained. Developers would be able to monetize their apps, access telemetry data, and respond to reviews and comments.

So what about the potential conflict with UWP (Universal Windows Platform) apps? PWAs will look and function the same as any other Store app, and will be packaged as an appx in Windows 10 - running in their own sandboxed container.

The support for PWAs within Windows 10 is being made possible by Microsoft adding support for newer web technologies to the OS' forthcoming EdgeHTML 17 engine. Microsoft engineers are beginning some experiments with crawling and indexing quality PWAs from the Web over the coming weeks to list them in the Microsoft Store.

PWAs use particular Web technologies, such as push notifications, Fetch, Cache API, Web App Manifest and Service Worker.

Microsoft recommends that devs who want to differentiate their product on each platform develop native apps, rather than PWAs, but also stresses the cost and time savings of building a single PWA to run across all platforms. The engineering team at Microsoft has apparently been using the Bing Crawler to identify PWAs on the Web for almost a year.

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