Microsoft Making Room in Windows 10 for Progressive Web Apps


Microsoft has introduced a fresh preview build of Windows 10 with a raft of new features on board.

Now the Store's limited software catalog could be about to get a substantial boost, as Microsoft prepares to open the Store to a host of new software. Further, it already reviewed almost 1.5 million candidates through which a "small initial set" of PWAs have been identified that will be indexed for Windows 10 users to test the experience over the coming weeks.

PWAs are basically web apps that behave like native apps, able to work offline, send notifications and be installed on PCs.

Aimed at students, Windows 10 S is a streamlined version of the operating system that is restricted to running apps from the Microsoft Store.

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The latest Windows 10 test build also includes a Game bar makeover, an expansion of HDR video access and better Bluetooth pairing. The main events are some new graphics options and, for Windows 10 S users, a way to go completely password free.

The browsers' huge combined userbase gives developers an incentive to build PWAs, so could potentially bring apps to the Microsoft Store that would otherwise not be ported across - addressing one of the longstanding criticisms of the store.

PWAs for short, these are websites or web apps specially crafted to deliver native app-like experience irrespective of the device platform and form factor.

These apps will run in a sandboxed AppX container in Windows 10 and won't carry any browser window. The search process to make that happen has been ongoing for about a year, and Microsoft has already reviewed "nearly 1.5 million candidates" for inclusion the store. Make sure it uses the discrete GPU.

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Giving so much importance to PWAs puts a question mark on the future of UWP (Universal Windows Platform) apps.

The support for PWAs within Windows 10 is being made possible by Microsoft adding support for newer web technologies to the OS' forthcoming EdgeHTML 17 engine. Microsoft says a lot of modern machines are capable of playing HDR but need to be calibrated in the factory to be able to do so. Microsoft will also start adding high quality PWAs to the Microsoft Store, and developers can also submit their PWA for consideration.

PWAs use particular Web technologies, such as push notifications, Fetch, Cache API, Web App Manifest and Service Worker. Microsoft has scheduled Build 2018 developer conference for May 7-9 and the conference will be held at Seattle same as previous year.

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