Edge Team Wants to Close the Gap Between Web and Native Apps

Posted on September 27, 2022 by Paul Thurrott in Microsoft Edge, Dev, Windows 10, Windows 11 with 18 Comments

The Microsoft Edge team today said that it has enhanced how Progressive Web Apps (PWA) work, bringing them even close to native apps.

“With many new web capabilities in the Chromium browser engine and UX changes in Microsoft Edge and on Windows, installed desktop web apps are really starting to look and feel like native apps,” Microsoft’s Patrick Brosset writes. “One remaining gap in how web apps appear on desktop is their ability to create their own title bar experiences.”

To address this, Microsoft has introduced a new Window Controls Overlay feature that allows PWAs to display content in the title bar area when run as an app on Windows, instead of being forced to use the default experience. This means that web apps will be able to implement custom titles, menu bars, account information, navigation tabs, and other elements that were, to date, only available to native Windows apps.

And the Window Controls Overlay isn’t just for Edge, or for just Windows: Microsoft created it as part of a larger contribution to the Web Capabilities project (Project Fugu) in collaboration with other browser makers and tech companies, and it works on Linux and Mac as well. This feature is now a default experience for all to use in Microsoft Edge version 105 and newer.

Web developers can learn more about the Window Controls Overlay via Microsoft’s technical documentation and the MDN reference docs.

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