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Râu Cao @raucao

Hey Microsoft: renaming Windows Hosted Apps to PWAs doesn't magically make them so. Having to use a proprietary tool to package the app in a proprietary format is the antithesis of open Web standards. blogs.windows.com/msedgedev/20

@nolan Do you have any insights on what's going on there? This seems like a cheap abuse of a buzzword, much more than honest integration of PWAs in Edge. Where the post should say something about installing from Edge, it actually proposes installing from the Windows store as the better future.

@raucao @nolan sounds a lot like this:

* edge integrated service workers and push notifications

* microsoft is going to sandbox them inside appx

so basically electron for edgehtml instead of chromium

@trwnh @raucao Some important differences between Windows PWAs and Electron:

- the browser engine auto-updates, so you don't have to worry about security issues of getting stuck on old versions of Chromium
- no heavy download; each app doesn't need its own browser engine
- no heavy extra runtime cost; all PWAs can share the same browser runtime
- service worker notifications are built into the OS; so they actually work even when the browser/app isn't open
- probably more I didn't think of 🙂

@raucao Right, so while the PWA implementation is in beta, you can use pwabuilder.com to manually create an APPX and upload it to the store. In the future, apps will just be automatically indexed in the store (using PWABuilder under the hood).

This is basically exactly the same as Google's WebAPK, except we're also putting these apps in the store.

@nolan Requiring Windows Store for installing a PWA is still entirely against the idea of a PWA as I see it. What about installing directly from Edge, without going through Microsoft as a gatekeeper, and appx as a proprietary format?

@nolan It's actually Chrome Web Store all over again, in case you remember how Google sabotaged installable Web apps by not allowing installs from the any other website.

@nolan Oh btw, the author of that blog post responded to me on birdsite...

@raucao OK, I see Kyle's response. I think he said it best. It's really about finding the right UX, and whether users are more likely to click a prompt from the browser when they navigate to a website vs Search (e.g. from the Start menu / Cortana) -> find in store -> install. You can see which one we're betting on. 🙂

The fact that it's an APPX is an implementation detail, analogous to Chrome's WebAPK format: chromium.googlesource.com/chro

@nolan Google said the exact same thing when they sabotaged installable Web apps back then. I remember it all very vividly.

@raucao The difference between PWAs and all previous webapp packaging formats (Chrome apps, FirefoxOS apps, Adobe Air, WinJS, Cordova, etc.) is that PWAs are based on a standard: github.com/w3c/manifest/. Even if one vendor totally botches it, other vendors are free to pick it up and do with it what they wish. 😊

@nolan Nitpick: they're not all standards yet, Manifest e.g. is only a draft for a future standard, that happens to be implemented by vendors before it's mature.

In any case, are you saying you already see Microsoft botching it, and are you saying requiring a proprietary package file is somehow compatible with the proposed standards or even just the core idea of PWA? Not sure what you're trying to say there really.

@nolan Just because the JSON format is different this time, and just because you're using a certain JSON format in your proprietary package format doesn't make it a PWA. That was my initial point.

Not sure how long you've been following installable web apps, but we had other manifest standards in the past, and those even included actual app packages, like these appx files, e.g.: w3.org/TR/widgets/

@raucao I'm having trouble understanding this conversation… My point was that the implementation doesn't matter as much as the standard. The fact that Edge PWAs use HWA/APPX under the hood is an implementation detail, just as Chrome uses Blink under the hood, Firefox uses Gecko under the hood, etc. Every browser is using "proprietary" APIs to implement the standard PWA format, which is how web standards work in general… Am I missing something? 😕

@nolan Yes, the fact that it's currently a requirement to package your app in that format and submit it to the Windows Store in order for it to be installable at all. That was already possible before and is not a PWA imo.

@nolan ... and future auto-indexing by Bing also doesn't improve that situation much, as it still makes Microsoft a gatekeeper, which is against the idea of an open and decentralized Web imo.