How to Test Progressive Web Applications in Chrome Dev

The latest version of Google Chrome Dev and Chrome Canary include compatibility with the progressive web applications (acronym in English PWA), also known as WebAPKs. Not enabled by default, but you can activate it and try it now.

And what is a progressive web application? First of all you should know that this It is not the same as Instant Apps Google has begun testing recently, although the concept is similar. The difference is that Instant Apps are normal Android applications which you can access directly from the web, and the progressive web applications are web pages that can be extended to your mobile to achieve a better performance and speed.

What is a progressive web application?

Have you realized how web pages lately seem more and more like native apps? There is a problem, however, they are still living inside the browser, so it is normal that if you stay offline go all to hell, and the animations and scrolling performance It tends to be quite irregular unless your phone is extremely powerful.

Progressive web applications are the invention found by Google to make web applications work better than ever and behave just like a native application. You can open and use them in your browser normally, but you also have the option of add it to your mobile as one application more.

In this case the part which you install on your mobile occupies very little because the bulk of the data are still trusted Internet. On your mobile only installed “service worker”, javascript functions that make the role of a kind of proxy that stores cache and ensures that the application still running although unstable connectivity.

Try your first progressive web application

To test how it works, the first thing you need is a current version of Google Chrome Dev or Google Chrome Canary. Progressive web applications also work on other versions and other browsers, but does not include the installation of the application on the mobile: instead, add a shortcut.

In the Chrome address bar, enter chrome://flags/#enable-improved-a2hs and marks the function as enabled. Then press Restart so the changes take effect.

You are now ready to test your first PWA! Progressive web applications were proposed by Google for the first time in 2015, so for now they are not available in too many places Web site. A good place to find a compilation of them is the site pwa.rocks.

When you find yourself on a progressive web application, probably Google will show you a notice asking you if you want to add it to your home page (Google uses its own logic to determine when to show you this notice). If you accept, you download and install on your mobile, bypassing Google Play.

The installation requires that you have activated the unknown origins, which somehow evidence that this technology still missing one or two evolutions. At the moment the idea is interesting and similar to Instant Apps, because not always you will want to install the whole application of all the sites you visit.

Gallery

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