‘Desktop PWA Sub Apps’ Could Help Users Install Multiple Experiences At One Go
A potential new Chrome flag discovered by Chrome Story, called “Desktop PWA Sub Apps,” may allow installed web applications to create additional shortcuts for associated web applications. Does this sound confusing? Let me explain. Traditional software packages – such as Windows applications, for example – are delivered to a user through an installer. These installers can give the user software, and often do, but others like Microsoft Office, Adobe Creative Cloud, etc. give the possibility to choose and install several applications at once.
[dPWA] Add a feature flag for sub-apps
Add a function flag for the “Sub Applications” function which is under development in this CL crrev.com/c/2684855.
Today’s web applications act like software if we are to continue the flawed analogy. You have access to a website through a single icon. PWA sub-apps could instead cause a PWA to act as an installer and be used for something like Google Workspace. If you turn Workspace’s website into an icon, Google might be able to automatically “ install ” Docs, Sheets, Slides, Meet, Chat, Gmail, Calendar, etc. on a user’s Chromebook or desktop operating system, if they aren’t already there for some reason.
Another example could be if you are visiting Microsoft Office 365 Online – imagine turning the main website into an icon via the “ Create Shortcut ” option and then receiving the Microsoft Word, Excel, and Powerpoint web apps accordingly! Such use cases could help large organizations better integrate their users with a suite of web tools and without the friction that exists today.
Please note that while multiple launch icons would be created for a web application, and for the user it would appear to be several separate web applications, rather they are separate actions for a single application. The reason this seems to set up multiple experiments is that companies like Microsoft and Google host all of their software as a service on a single server and can launch them through different URLs, thus treating them as “ actions. ”
In some circumstances, it may be necessary for a single PWA to create multiple launch icons with distinct names. This allows a single software package to represent different functionality to the user while remaining a single PWA installation.
When fully implemented, FUGU’s declarative link capture would allow links to open in specific windows, new or existing. This means that developers can launch any sub-application created or installed by a web application, thereby controlling a user’s experience and making the web appear much more like a traditional desktop experience with installed programs.
While this in-development feature looks promising and very useful, I have to remind you that Google currently carries a lot of web apps to the Play Store where users can discover and install them with just one click. If you’re looking for Office 365, for example, you’ll be able to install Word, Excel, and Powerpoint just by clicking “ Install ” on the new unified Office app.
While as convenient as the aforementioned example of doing the same for its web apps through this new PWA sub-app feature, Microsoft clearly has no public intention of replacing its Android apps with its inferior web experience. I envision a future where PWAs are all there is in the Play Store (yes, even for games), but that day is far, far into the future, and there seems to be room for PWAs in the future. the Play Store and sub-apps to coexist for the time being.