Installing a Native Progressive Web App

by Eric Wyatt
(last updated November 30, 2020)

Over the years, we have moved past relying solely on computers to run applications. In addition to the use of computers, we also have phones, tablets, and more. Having a variety of devices to access apps and information has proved an interesting problem for developers. They need to code their app or service for each specific target platform, and each platform has its own rules or requirements. The coding language that developers use can change depending on the platform on which they are wanting to run the app. Another potential problem is related to deployment or distribution. Each platform has its own method for accessing apps. For example, there is the Microsoft Store, Apple's App Store, or Google Play.

Due to some of these issues, some developers have in recent years turned to Progressive Web Apps (PWAs). PWAs utilize the best of mobile apps and the web. These PWAs are generally easier to maintain and deploy, which is a benefit to both the end-user and the developer.

There are two primary PWAs that you can install on your system. One is referred to as being native. A native PWA is specifically created for the target platform and is offered alongside a website or in an app store, such as the Microsoft Store.

In this tip I'll show how to install and work with a native PWA. Here's how to do the install:

  1. Launch the Edge Chromium web browser.
  2. Navigate to the site you wish to install. In this example, I will go to Twitter.com, and wait until the webpage has loaded completely.
  3. If Edge Chromium detects a native PWA on the site, it will display a plus sign in the address bar at the top of the browser window. (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. Edge Chromium showing a PWA is available.

  5. Click on the plus sign. A drop-down under the address bar appears, asking if you want to install the app. (See Figure 2.)
  6. Figure 2. Edge Chromium asking to install Twitter App PWA.

  7. Click Install. Edge Chromium will immediately install the app.

Viewing Installed PWAs

To see the list of installed Progressive Web Apps installed on your computer:

  1. Launch the Edge Chromium web browser (if it is not currently open)
  2. In the address bar type "Edge://apps" (without quotes) and press Enter. Edge Chromium displays all of the PWAs installed on your computer. (See Figure 3.)
  3. Figure 3. List of installed PWAs in Edge Chromium.

Pin a PWA

  1. With the installed apps page (shown above) displayed, go to the app you wish to pin and right-click on the app. A drop-down list of options appears.
  2. Select the "Pin To..." option. Edge displays a Pin App To pop-up.
  3. Select where you would like the app pinned—Desktop, Start Menu, or both. (See Figure 4.)
  4. Figure 4. Edge Chromium asking where you would like to pin a PWA.

  5. Click Pin. Depending on your selection in step 3, Edge creates a shortcut on your desktop, Start Menu, or both.

With your app pinned you can use either shortcut to open the PWA, which will launch the PWA in its own dedicated Edge Chromium window. PWAs are available from many companies today and if you're using Edge Chromium you can install and start using them right away. Some more popular PWAs are available from:

  • Starbucks
  • Pinterest
  • Forbes
  • Uber
  • Spotify

If you have been using PWAs, share in the comments below your favorite ones.

 This tip (13805) applies to Windows 10.

Author Bio

Eric Wyatt

Eric Wyatt is a swell guy (or so his friends tell him). He is a formally trained designer and branding expert, bringing a wide range of skills to his Tips.Net articles. ...

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