I’ve been somewhat obsessed by Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) lately, but this is a transition that will take lots of time. That said, one PWA, Twitter Lite, has emerged as a clear winner. And it works very well across platforms.
Interestingly, and not coincidentally, both Microsoft and Google highlighted Twitter Lite at their respective developer shows over the past few weeks. And for good reason: Not only does this PWA provide a truly native app-like experience, but it works incredibly well across platforms.
So well, in fact, that it has now replaced the native Twitter apps I was using on both Windows 10 and Android.
And that is rather incredible when you think about it, especially on Windows 10. This is a mobile web app, designed for small, portrait-oriented screens. But I find that it works well in windowed mode on Windows 10 too. Well enough, in fact, that I will simply keep using it going forward.
This is a big deal for me because I’ve been stuck using an out-of-date and no-longer-supported native app called MetroTwit. Which has become increasingly hard to use as Twitter adds features that will never make it to this client. But because MetroTwit nails the basics so well, and other Twitter clients do not, I’ve had a hard time moving past this app. Yes, I’ve tried them all. Many times.
This is also a big deal for me because I’ve been looking for good PWA solutions with little success. I’ve never found a text editor that meets my admittedly stringent needs, but I did find an OK graphics editor—Pixlr—which works well for what I do.
Anyway, if you want to use Twitter Lite today—on Android or Windows 10—you will do so through Chrome. On Android, load Twitter Lite and then choose Menu > Add to Home Screen. In Windows 10, choose Menu > More Tools > Add to Desktop, and be sure to select “Open as window” for that “nativish” experience.
I do sort of wish that Twitter Lite offered a multi-column view, which could be implemented as you stretch out the window. (And would make this web app truly progressive, when you think about it.) But even in its current form, I’m really liking how this works. And I’d never use Twitter via the standard website in a browser.
We need more apps like this.
Note: Twitter Lite is a bit less enticing on iOS because you must use Safari to save it to your home screen, and doing so does not result in an app-like experience with no browser UI. Come on, Apple. Wake up.