Microsoft and Google partnership to create better Progressive Web Apps

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A partnership between two of the biggest tech companies is almost always a good thing if it makes our digital lives better. So developers are rejoicing that we’re getting a combination of the powers of Microsoft and Google to create high-quality Progressive Web Apps or PWAs. The collaboration will see Microsoft’s PWABuilder and Google’s Bubblewrap help the web developer community create and publish these PWAs to their app stores. While it may take some time before we see these apps, we can see the building blocks that developers can use to create them.

If it’s the first time you’re hearing these terms, here’s the lowdown. A PWA is an app that you can view and use on a browser without having to install an app as it uses HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. The PWABuilder is Microsoft’s own developer tool that is open source and can help you create PWAs and then publish them in app stores. Meanwhile, Bubblewrap is a command-line utility and library that can generate and sign Google Play Store packages for the PWAs.

Because of this collaboration, there are two new features that PWA developers can take advantage of. First, the PWAs that have been packaged for Google Play Store will now be able to support the web shortcuts standard. This means, you’ll be able to integrate the list of common actions into the operating system so users can access these core functionalities. As long as you indicate the shortcuts in your web manifest, it will work in the APK.

The other main thing developers will be able to do is that the PWABuilder will now be able to support full customization of the Android app package. They will now be able to customize things like how the status bar and nav bar will look like, change your Android splash screen, change your launcher name, have deep push notification support, configure your ID and versioning, and a lot of other customizable features.

It will be a while before we see any of the PWAs using these new features but at least you know they’re coming. This will not just encourage more creators and develops to use these tools but when we get better quality PWAs, there may be more users that will get on the PWA wagon.

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