The First Set of PWAs Land on the Microsoft Store

Posted on April 7, 2018 by Mehedi Hassan in Windows 10 with 61 Comments

Back in February, Microsoft confirmed its plans for bringing Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) to Windows 10. At the time, the company said it will start crawling the web for high-quality PWA apps and bring them to the Microsoft Store as standalone applications.

As promised, we started seeing some new PWAs on the Microsoft Store starting late last month when Twitter replaced its native UWP app with its new PWA app on the Microsoft Store. In addition to Twitter, Microsoft has started releasing some other PWAs on the Microsoft Store, as first spotted by Italian blog Aggiornamenti Lumia. The first set of PWAs on the Microsoft include popular UK-based online shopping service ASOS, Skyscanner, Men’s Wearhouse, SDN, and a couple of other apps shown in the screenshot above.

These new PWAs on the Microsoft Store are essentially the regular websites wrapped inside an application. Unlike the Twitter PWA, however, some of these apps don’t seem to be making use of the main PWA features such as push notifications. But that shouldn’t be too much of a problem as PWAs can be updated just like regular websites without needing to actually update the app on the Microsoft Store. After all, the whole point of bringing PWAs to the Microsoft Store is to expand its collection of apps, and not really about the native features — in other words, regular users will continue to interact with these apps just like a regular app without knowing what’s happening behind the scenes.

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Comments (61)

61 responses to “The First Set of PWAs Land on the Microsoft Store”

  1. BlackForestHam

    Is there a thesaurus PWA available in the Microsoft Store? I suggest you look for one in the Microsoft Store, Mehedii, and download it. From the Microsoft Store.

    Microsoft Store.

    • Chris

      In reply to BlackForestHam:

      You could have simply, and politely, pointed out that Mehedi did overuse "Microsoft Store" in the story, rather than acting like a prick, and doing it as bluntly as you did...

    • jbinaz

      In reply to BlackForestHam:

      And if you're going to be an asshole, then at least spell his name right. Mehedi, with one "i" at the end, not two.

      The guy does a damn good job of writing a LOT, every day.

    • Angusmatheson

      Microsoft store is a painful name. The original as I recall was “store” which was terrible because so vague. Windows Store followed - which I think was the best because it at least tells me it is where you buy things for your Windows computers - so apps and such. Now for me Microsoft Store is that place in the mall next to tu Apple store. So the fact that Micrsoft store refers both to an a digital store for apps and a physical store is confusing. I know Microsoft is trying to get away from the Windows Brand - but this is just perverse. (It doesn’t help that Microsoft is perhaps the worst name in tech. I know it is from microcomputer and software put together - but why choose micro and soft. How about computerware. Or Mi-software or MS. Or A random rare nonsense word like Amazon and Google. But of all of them Microsoft is the worst. It just sounds small and weak.)In reply to BlackForestHam:

      • warren

        In reply to Angusmatheson:

        Wait, what? Having a physical store and an app with the same name is confusing to you?


        ....... Really?

        How stupid do you have to be to be confused by something like this?

  2. rockycpa

    So what would it take for to be a PWA?

  3. PeteB

    Pointless Web Wrappers

    • Benjamin Taylor

      In reply to PeteB:

      Not at all.

      The point of PWA's is that they can be progressively augmented with native OS features. Think native icons, native UI elements, live tiles, native notifications, integration with sharing options. They also should work offline and be able to work seamlessly in the background.

      They're the best of the web and the best of the host desktop/phone/tablet OS combined.

  4. LocalPCGuy

    I wonder if Microsoft is able to monetize these PWA's. Based on where the app brings you, I presume that there is some form of revenue sharing going on, at least in some cases. If not, taking a percentage from developers that post custom, often worthwhile, apps on the Store seems destined to lead to hard feelings on the part of app developers.

  5. Jules Wombat

    So if PWA is to save the Microsoft Store, why doesn't Joe B, get his finger out to ensure PWA runs on Windows 10 mobile?

    A store is only of utility if there is a mobile platform for it to serve. I know Microsoft have given up on mobile, so what purpose does any PWA serve anymore.

    • skane2600

      In reply to Jules_Wombat:

      At this point any money Microsoft spends on mobile will be a waste. All of our family phones are Windows Phones yet I recognize the handwriting on the wall.

      • xperiencewindows

        In reply to skane2600:

        Little late to be recognizing the handwriting on the wall...Windows Mobile has been completely removed from the microsoft website. Windows Mobile has been dead for over a year now..time to switch.

        • skane2600

          In reply to xperiencewindows:

          Are you assuming that I bought those phones last week? For those of us with restricted budgets "time to switch" is usually when the product stops working.

          You'd love my 1999 Ford Explorer I bought a year ago for $1000 because I needed a second vehicle. Most of the 20th century options don't work, but it still moves which is sufficient.

    • Jeremy Petzold

      In reply to Jules_Wombat:

      I kinda feel uncomfortable having to be the one that tells you thins...but...Windows 10 Mobile, and windows in the mobile space in general, is dead. Gone. Done.

    • Munsey Slack

      In reply to Jules_Wombat:

      I just installed the Carfax app from the store on my Lumia 950XL and it seems to work perfectly. It may be that WinMo10 is already supporting PWAs.

  6. Byron Adams

    How do I install the PWA from the URL? If I pin it, it brings it up in Edge.

  7. rameshthanikodi

    how do the live tiles/icons for these PWAs look?

      • rameshthanikodi

        In reply to PeteB:

        what? It's a legit question. Does the icon/tile look decent or is it like some rubbish favicon?

        How the fuck am I getting downvoted for this? Jesus

        • Mikhul

          In reply to FalseAgent:

          Facepalm. There is no LIVE TILE because they aren't real apps. They are web wrappers. A pointer to a website.

          • BigM72

            In reply to Mikhul:

            But the PWAs are extensible to take into account platform features. They can use Live Tiles if they want to.

            • skane2600

              In reply to BigM72:

              I don't know if they can use Live Tiles or not but if they could, that would mean that the PWA wouldn't run identically on all systems or perhaps not run at all on a non-Windows platform. This is one of the fundamental problems with all "can run anywhere" schemes. You have to constrict the design of the software so it doesn't use any capabilities that aren't shared by all the platforms you want to run on.

              • Jeremy Petzold

                In reply to skane2600:

                Right....they allow for a significant code base to be used across platforms and then the developer can choose to incorporate platform functions too.

                If the PWA platform gets built right (and maybe it has) the integration framework can be generic for the developer while the platforms handle the "what to do" part of the it.

                User.Notify(foo) could get handled differently on Android, iOS, Windows 10, Mac OS....but the developer just communicates the intention using the method and meets the data structure requirements (I assume JSON object of some kind).

                • skane2600

                  In reply to Jeremy_Petzold:

                  A "significant code base to be used across platforms" has always been the standard approach for cross-platform development, but it doesn't eliminate the extra effort required to support multiple platforms.

                  In practice you can't always wrap platform-specific functions with a generic function call. Following that course leads to TheBigFunctionThatDoesEverything().

                  Whether the platform-specific characteristics are embodied in code or in data structures doesn't matter, they are still there. What you end up with is platform-specific "stuff" residing in a common set of files. This is cross-platform coupling with all the problems that such coupling brings.

          • Jeremy Petzold

            In reply to Mikhul:

            No, PWAs allow for sites to have live tiles as well as a host of other platform integrations. But apparently because a small list of junky PWS developers were first to the starting line they determine what PWAs can it.

        • mmuntean

          In reply to FalseAgent:

          You get downvoted by desperate fanbabies that do not accept anything negative said towards Microcrap, even if it's plain true.

  8. BigM72

    As a user, I need a reason to install these as apps on my system versus just browsing them as websites or having a long list of bookmarks.

    It makes sense for Twitter, some others may make sense if they adopt the features (e.g. price alerts from Skyscanner). If not, it's just clutter in the store.

    • SocialDanny123

      In reply to BigM72:

      It depends on the user, it's because these can be accessed offline, that IMO is a major difference. TBH Pretty much every app that is not complex will likely be added to the Store and become PWA.

    • Usman

      In reply to BigM72:

      The benefit of it is so that the application has it's own window frame and more or less most pwa like twitter, kayak, starbucks are good app experiences.

      For users that don't know pwas or aren't used to adding sites to the home screens, having a store listing of a pwa is a win for the consumer and the app dev, as adding to home screen is a software acquisition Paradigm that consumers aren't used to.

  9. mrdrwest

    Sounds boring.

    ...but, I'm hopeful.

  10. mrdrwest

    The cross-platform synchronized PWA fart apps are the store!!!!!!!

  11. SherlockHolmes

    Is this the best promised future in PWA apps on the desktop? Wrapped websites? No thanks. Another dead end for the Microsoft Store.

    • Soundtweaker

      In reply to SherlockHolmes: PWA's will be in all app stores not just MS.

    • mmuntean

      In reply to SherlockHolmes:

      That store is already dead...this is MS last desperate attempt to populate it with something, no matter it is useless on a desktop OS or not.

    • pachi

      In reply to SherlockHolmes:

      I see praise for the new Twitter PWA and I'm not seeing it... It may have more features available, but it's just their ugly website wrapped in an app, and is much slower than the old UWP app.

      • SherlockHolmes

        In reply to pachi:

        As I said many times: I dont see the advantage why I should install a PWA app on my PC, when I just can open the damn website in a browser? For me this new hype makes no sense.

        • Dick O'Rosary

          In reply to SherlockHolmes:

          You have guys like Thurrott who seems quite obsessed with making websites run on standalone windows. Its his favorite feature on Google Chrome.

        • Usman

          In reply to SherlockHolmes:

          The hype is more towards developers and for the future, a single code base that works everywhere. Yes you can get twitter lite or Google apps on a browser, but also you can have them in an isolated window and it looks like a separate app.

          It's the next step after electron apps, Slack, Teams, Discord, VS Code etc run an instance of chrome to run, even though you can access web versions near instantly with now download.

          Now you can get those apps in a native shell that are now a couple of meg instead of 100s of megabytes.

          That's all technical stuff, it makes development processes better, as now its a single code base across all platforms.

        • pachi

          In reply to SherlockHolmes:

          Another great example I just thought of is the Mail app on WIndows 10 - they've been making their website more and more like it lately. The website BARELY functions on my laptop using Edge - it's so slow and clunky, but the app is smooth as butter. I hope their endgame isn't to make that a PWA too. This is not working.

        • pachi

          In reply to SherlockHolmes:

          There isn't one - so long as PWA's remain just as a wrapped website. Mobile developers have for years had the option of just embedding the website as an app - maybe it's grown even easier over the years, but the reason they didn't do this is because wrapping a website as an app doesn't do anything for anyone. I have no problem with twitter using the website as a backbone for their app, for example, but the app itself having all the website content is just crazy. This is not an app in any capacity. This is evidenced by the fact that it loads much more slowly than their UWP app - there's no way to adjust the looks, etc...

  12. mmuntean

    :))) Now the fanboys of the magnificent junk yard app store can be happy. I've seen the Twitter PWA..what a junk compared to the IOS or Android app...PWAS won't bring users back to that app store. Why on earth would I use a crippled PWA instead of the full website on a desktop OS??