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Software Microsoft Operating Systems Windows

Windows 10 Will Soon Get Progressive Web Apps To Boost the Microsoft Store (techradar.com) 152

The next major update to Windows 10 will bring Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) to the Microsoft Store. PWAs are websites (or web apps) which are implemented as native apps, and delivered just like a normal app through Windows 10's store. According to TechRadar, "The big advantages are that no platform-specific code is required, allowing devs to make apps that run across different platforms, and that PWAs are hosted on the developer's server, so can be updated directly from there (without having to push updates to the app store)." The other benefit for Microsoft is that they will be getting a bunch of new apps in Windows 10's store. From the report: As Microsoft explains in a blog post, these new web apps are built on a raft of nifty technologies -- including Service Worker, Fetch networking, Push notifications and more -- all of which will be enabled when EdgeHTML 17 (the next version of the rendering engine that powers the Edge browser) goes live in Windows 10 in the next big update. PWAs can be grabbed from the Microsoft Store as an AppX file, and will run in their own sandboxed container, without needing the browser to be open at all. As far as the user is concerned, they'll be just like any other app downloaded from the store. Microsoft says it is already experimenting with crawling and indexing PWAs from the web to pick out the quality offerings, which it will draft into the Microsoft Store. The firm has already combed through some 1.5 million web apps to pick out a small selection of PWAs for initial testing. As well as discovering apps via web crawling, developers will also be able to submit their offerings directly to Microsoft for approval.
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Windows 10 Will Soon Get Progressive Web Apps To Boost the Microsoft Store

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  • Sounds fun (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Lab Rat Jason ( 2495638 ) on Wednesday February 07, 2018 @07:33PM (#56086547)

    and that PWAs are hosted on the developer's server, so can be updated directly from there

    I can't imagine any way that these apps would be compromised by hackers... not a single one!

    • Re:Sounds fun (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Obfuscant ( 592200 ) on Wednesday February 07, 2018 @07:57PM (#56086671)
      And if an update removes a feature or makes it unusable for you, too bad. But then, that's the Windows 10 philosophy.
    • Re: Sounds fun (Score:5, Interesting)

      by peragrin ( 659227 ) on Wednesday February 07, 2018 @08:11PM (#56086733)

      It gets better, they reinvented ActiveX. And everyone knows ActiveX was always secure trustworthy, and never crashed windows.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by exomondo ( 1725132 )

      and that PWAs are hosted on the developer's server, so can be updated directly from there

      I can't imagine any way that these apps would be compromised by hackers... not a single one!

      How is that different to any website or webapp?

      • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

        by war4peace ( 1628283 )

        It's not but since "Microsoft" word showed up, people here on /. would foam at the mouth anyway.

        • No idea why this got modded as troll. It seems that these "apps" are a new type of browser bookmark. Instead of bookmarking /., I can install a "/." app. What will that app do? Open up a new Edge process (without the normal navigation elements) and load up the page. There used to be a ton of "apps" like this for iPhone. People hated them. I wouldn't want them for Windows either. But from a security standpoint its no different than loading the page in Edge.
          • by bondsbw ( 888959 )

            People hated them on the phone because performance. The original iPhone was vastly underpowered compared to today's PCs.

            That's not to say that JS is super fast, just that it's now fast enough for many common applications. Stick with native for pro apps and gaming.

      • Re:Sounds fun (Score:5, Interesting)

        by sg_oneill ( 159032 ) on Wednesday February 07, 2018 @10:53PM (#56087355)

        How is that different to any website or webapp?

        Websites are sandboxed to hell and back. When it works (which is not always) a website cant break out of the browser and mess with your PC.

        But these HTML as faux-native apps can. The Node.js runtime has all the same access any native app has, can write and read from your file system, hook to arbitrary dll/dylib/.so libs, network card access, and beyond.

        Its a *huge* difference, especially if the app is linking off to random-ass CDNs to pull code off the net every time you open a window.

        • Re:Sounds fun (Score:5, Informative)

          by exomondo ( 1725132 ) on Wednesday February 07, 2018 @11:19PM (#56087451)

          Websites are sandboxed to hell and back. When it works (which is not always) a website cant break out of the browser and mess with your PC.

          But these HTML as faux-native apps can. The Node.js runtime has all the same access any native app has, can write and read from your file system, hook to arbitrary dll/dylib/.so libs, network card access, and beyond.

          No, they're web apps, hosted on servers run in a sandboxed "browser" on your local machine. You're not running a node server on your own machine.

          • by Calydor ( 739835 )

            Except when you run a website in eg. Chrome, you have a lot of (we assume) really smart people keeping Chrome from having serious exploits.

            If you run a website from JimBob's AutoParts in its own app that JimBob's third cousin grabbed the code for off the net you have NO IDEA how well it's sandboxed if at all.

            • But the "app" is probably just some prepackaged JS running in the Edge engine, or something like that. JimBob's not going to be implementing his own rendering or scripting engine.

            • If you run a website from JimBob's AutoParts in its own app that JimBob's third cousin grabbed the code for off the net you have NO IDEA how well it's sandboxed if at all.

              Of course, but how does that relate to what we're talking about? The application in this case is run inside a sandboxed browser just like any web app, in reading the article it certainly doesn't appear as though the web app developer is providing the container app like you suppose.

      • and that PWAs are hosted on the developer's server, so can be updated directly from there

        I can't imagine any way that these apps would be compromised by hackers... not a single one!

        How is that different to any website or webapp?

        They're progressive?

      • Maybe I misunderstood the original article... If MS is offering nothing more than a start menu tile for a website, then my bad... but what would be the point of that? I thought we were talking about apps. The ability to access significant hardware resources is the ONLY thing that really distinguishes apps from websites. So I thought we were talking about software hosted on a third party website, that can be updated without Microsoft being aware of it, and having access to significant resources on my loca

        • In reading the article it appears they effectively launch the website in its own browser frame without all the browser chrome. But it's still a web app, but if you're concerned about applications that can be updated without Microsoft being aware of it isn't that any application that doesn't come from Microsoft?
        • by bondsbw ( 888959 )

          If MS is offering nothing more than a start menu tile for a website, then my bad... but what would be the point of that? I thought we were talking about apps. The ability to access significant hardware resources is the ONLY thing that really distinguishes apps from websites.

          Not entirely. This is about a good offline experience, push notifications, service workers, and integration with OS capabilities with permission (local calendar, contacts, home screen, Cortana, etc etc).

          For development teams, it means fewer code bases and better product consistency.

          In a sense it really is just the web... but the definition of the web is evolving constantly, and has more in common with applications and services than the static pages of the 90s.

      • by hawk ( 1151 )

        >How is that different to any website or webapp?

        Because these are *progressive* web apps, and that makes you a bd person if you don't use them.

        Next we'll have conservative CWAs, and alt-binary versions, SWAs, and so forth . . .

        hawk :)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 07, 2018 @07:42PM (#56086601)

    Frankly, I'm webbed out. I'm apped out. I'm tired of being the dumping ground for corporate bullshit.

    Comparitively, gopher and ftp weren't that bad at all.

    Seriously.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    This failed with the pre. mozilla phone, isn't going anywhere in androidland or chrome. Nobody wants this.

    I like having a computer that I can use when not connected to the internet, 'forever'. Not one that can't deal with that.

    I can certainly see the attraction about companies having a way to leverage you to get you to store your data in their cloud where they can comb through it at will, or start charging you subscription fees for it and other things. I can certainly see the attraction to increasing your

    • by taustin ( 171655 ) on Wednesday February 07, 2018 @07:46PM (#56086627) Homepage Journal

      I like having a computer that I can use when not connected to the internet, 'forever'. Not one that can't deal with that.

      Then Windows is not for you. I'll be very surprised if it continues to even boot without an internet connection for much longer.

      • by tepples ( 727027 )

        What operating system supported on laptops sold in stores is for me then? Chrome OS's offline support is entirely based on PWAs.

        • by sconeu ( 64226 ) on Wednesday February 07, 2018 @08:42PM (#56086843) Homepage Journal

          Linux

          • by tepples ( 727027 )

            [If you shun PWAs because you value offline use, t]hen Windows is not for you

            What operating system supported on laptops sold in stores is for me then?

            Linux

            Now I'm curious as to which store chain you're shopping in that has a Linux laptop in the showroom. Most offers for Linux laptops that I've seen have been mail order, where the customer is expected to place an order for a laptop without ever having seen its screen or touched its keyboard in person. And I doubt that manufacturers of Windows laptops are willing to support the use case of reformatting it, installing Xubuntu, and dealing with hardware incompatibilities that the manufacturer neglected to disclos

        • by taustin ( 171655 )

          The industry seems to be trying to kill laptops. Anything a laptop can do that your cell phone can't cannot possibly be that important, now can it? Uncle Microsoft knows best. Now shut up and pay your monthly subscription fee.

          • Anything a laptop can do that your cell phone can't cannot possibly be that important, now can it?

            Let me know when Visual Studio runs on a cell phone, even with a Bluetooth keyboard.

            I'm aware of AIDE, which allows developing apps for Android on Android. Likewise, Swift Playgrounds allows prototyping apps for iOS on iPad. But I was under the impression that both needed a screen bigger than the 5" of a phone, and tablet stands that I've tried aren't nearly as stable as a laptop's hinge.

            • by taustin ( 171655 )

              Visual Studio is for making your own software. Why on earth should you be allowed to do that? Everything you need is available (for a monthly charge) from those who know what you want better than you ever possibly could.

              Now shut up and drink your Kool-Aid.

      • I'll be very surprised if it continues to even boot without an internet connection for much longer.

        I'm sorry, grandpa. But that's Internet Explorer, not Windows. And no, Google Chrome isn't Windows either.

    • by tepples ( 727027 )

      Each PWA contains a Service Worker, a locally cached web server written in JavaScript that runs the offline portion of the app.

    • I like having a computer that I can use when not connected to the internet, 'forever'. Not one that can't deal with that.

      I bought my first personal computer, an Apple II clone, back in 1982 because I did not want to have to be connected to some other machine to be able to do whatever it was I wanted to do with my computer, whenever I wanted to do it. This just looks like Microsoft's answer to Google's Chrome OS.

    • When I got my new laptop with Windows 10, I just followed the path of least resistance and set up the account the way the OS recommended. Then, a bit later, I couldn't log into the thing because it couldn't get online. There was wifi where I was, but it had a signon page. I wound up using my phone as a hotspot and immediately looked up how to change to a local account.

  • by taustin ( 171655 ) on Wednesday February 07, 2018 @07:44PM (#56086617) Homepage Journal

    to invent yet another innovative way to distribute malware.

    Push notifications

    And spam.

    Any bets of whether or not the push notifications will work whether the app is running or not?

    • by brix ( 27642 ) on Wednesday February 07, 2018 @08:45PM (#56086863)

      Leave it to Microsoft

      Your "ire" is a bit misplaced. Actually, PWAs are endorsed and will be supported by every major browser vendor other than Apple. They've been covered here on Slashdot multiple times over the last few years. One of those articles mentioned that Google has deprecated the Chrome App Store because they also believe PWAs are the right way to deliver Web apps to the desktop.

      Push notifications

      And spam.

      Apologies in advance, I'm going to try to say this nicely, but have you been living under a rock (or not upgraded your browser) for the last 3 years? The W3C Push API and WHATWG Notifications API have been around for at least that long. And I would be really surprised if you haven't seen a website ask permission to send notifications.

      Any bets of whether or not the push notifications will work whether the app is running or not?

      A quick search shows that Chrome implemented the ability for a website to send notifications even after the tab is closed almost 3 years ago in Chrome 42. I'd be really surprised if Edge didn't implement this capability for PWAs and already support the ability for the user to disable them on a site-by-site basis.

      I'm looking forward to PWAs, personally. At the moment, there are pretty much no Google apps (Gmail, etc.) in the Microsoft App Store. This will change that. Besides Google, I'd expect most top-tier web applications will also release as a PWA.

      Sure, there will be plenty of junk apps, but how is that different than any app store (iOS, Android, etc.) today? You have to wade through a lot of junk on any platform, but that doesn't mean the concept isn't useful. Having these in the Windows Store at least allows user ratings to help filter out the bad ones.

      • by taustin ( 171655 ) on Wednesday February 07, 2018 @08:58PM (#56086921) Homepage Journal

        Leave it to Microsoft

        Your "ire" is a bit misplaced. Actually, PWAs are endorsed and will be supported by every major browser vendor other than Apple. They've been covered here on Slashdot multiple times over the last few years. One of those articles mentioned that Google has deprecated the Chrome App Store because they also believe PWAs are the right way to deliver Web apps to the desktop.

        Google is an advertising company ("If you're not paying for the service, you're not the customer, you're the product."). Of course they believe that technology that allows them to shove more advertising down your throat is the only possible future.

        Push notifications

        And spam.

        Apologies in advance, I'm going to try to say this nicely, but have you been living under a rock (or not upgraded your browser) for the last 3 years? The W3C Push API and WHATWG Notifications API have been around for at least that long. And I would be really surprised if you haven't seen a website ask permission to send notifications.

        Indeed. In order to get the one notification a week you want, you have to allow dozens of ads a day as well. If not today, then tomorrow.

        Any bets of whether or not the push notifications will work whether the app is running or not?

        A quick search shows that Chrome implemented the ability for a website to send notifications even after the tab is closed almost 3 years ago in Chrome 42.

        See above about Google being an advertising company. That is, in fact, one of the bigger reasons why I don't use Chrome much.

        I'd be really surprised if Edge didn't implement this capability for PWAs and already support the ability for the user to disable them on a site-by-site basis.

        I'm looking forward to PWAs, personally. At the moment, there are pretty much no Google apps (Gmail, etc.) in the Microsoft App Store. This will change that. Besides Google, I'd expect most top-tier web applications will also release as a PWA.

        Sure, there will be plenty of junk apps, but how is that different than any app store (iOS, Android, etc.) today? You have to wade through a lot of junk on any platform, but that doesn't mean the concept isn't useful. Having these in the Windows Store at least allows user ratings to help filter out the bad ones.

        And the clever companies will put it in the app store, pay grunt labor in India to put in a pile of good reviews, then alter their PWA - without having to go through any review process - to blast spam or malware out constantly. Or some well intentioned hacker will put together something truly useful, and it will get so popular they can't handle it any more, and they'll sell it to some unscrupulous con artist who will do that. You know, like happens now for browser plug-ins and app store apps.

        And while Microsoft is not, currently, primarily an ad company, the harder they push into "software as a service" territory, they more of an ad company they will become. They may or may not realize it yet, but it will inevitably happen. There's too many billions of dollars to be had that way. It'd be irresponsible towards their shareholders not to.

        PWA is a plan to make it easier and more convenient for ad companies like Google to shove more and more and more advertising into people's faces. Things that like have made the web nearly unusable already.

  • If I understand correctly these are just packaged web apps where resources (html + css + js) are bundled together and downloaded so the browser can execute them locally with no internet connection needed. If that's the case Firefox and Chrome have been doing this for years.
    • by brix ( 27642 ) on Wednesday February 07, 2018 @08:49PM (#56086881)
      True, but both Firefox and Chrome have abandoned their former proprietary methods of creating web "apps" and are also moving to the PWA spec. So maybe we can say "old concept, new standard"?
    • by dmt0 ( 1295725 )
      Yes, and one of the main points of them is that the user doesn't have to go to the Play Store / App store to install them. Enter Microsoft.
      • I get the whole embrace/extend... meme but what about Electron, that bundles a Chromium runtime with every 'app'? I see this tech streamlining *that* experience on Windows.

        *typed from a KDE desktop, so unless MS release a UWP store for Wayland and/or Android, I won't be touching them in any case.

        • by dmt0 ( 1295725 )
          As I understand Electron is about copying a Chromium runtimes into every desktop app and running all your UI in that webview.

          A PWA is just a normal webapp. And it just runs in your normal browser, but perhaps with some of the browser UI (toolbars, address bar, etc.) chopped off, to make it look like desktop app. That's how it is on the mobile anyway. So with PWA you're not bundling Chromium runtimes all over the place.

          I think it's not so much about embrace/extend as it is about Microsoft just trying r
  • What a great idea. Stock your store with millions of junk apps that amount to little more than glorified hyperlinks. What people really want is to wade through heaps and heaps of garbage only to discover what they really want isn't for sale.

    This tactic should win Microsoft enough attention that someone somewhere on earth is guaranteed to buy something from Microsoft by the time 32-bit time_t wraps.

    App stores are evil.
    Windows 10 is malware.

    "It's the emptiness that's left. It's like a despair, destroying th

  • by wikthemighty ( 524325 ) on Wednesday February 07, 2018 @08:13PM (#56086737)

    Why should I waste space on my phone with what is literally a copy of a website?

    And probably a copy of the shitty mobile website at that...

    • These are desktop apps. And the reason you would "waste space" is to avoid downloading each and every time. You may not be aware of this but your browser currently has a "cache" that already wastes space in this way.
  • Apps that remove features with updates will no longer be able to be rolled back.

  • is still write once, debug everywhere.

    Also, are these based on open web standards or is MS just trying to reduce the maintenance on their lock-in?

  • year of the Linux Desktop confirmed.
  • "The big advantages are that no platform-specific code is required"

    • First thing I thought too. It conjures up nightmares of security and compatibility issues. Java should just die already, as well as Flash. And any variant of ActiveX.

  • Will these PWA run under OS X or Linux?

    "these new web apps are built on a raft of nifty technologies -- including Service Worker, Fetch networking, Push notifications and more -- all of which will be enabled when EdgeHTML 17"

    Ah so, they're trying the same dodge they implementing with Internet Explorer and Internet Information Services (IIS), as in PWAs won't run on anything else except EdgeHTML on Windows 10. Are these nifty technologies available to third parties without having to pay a license to M
  • "these new web apps are built on a raft of nifty technologies..

    I'm glad they're using nifty technologies. What do these apps do? Another calendar app? Another calculator? Angry Birds 4? How many different ways are there of coding crap that nobody needs?

  • Even more baked-in shit I probably can't remove. I've been fighting with Win10E trying to rip out shit like Pandora, DuoLingo, Eclipse Manager...I've done the getappx -allusers uninstalls, getappxpackage uninstalls, every registry entry I can find relating to them. Yet still, whenever a new user on a box logs in...BOOM THEIR BACK.

    Why can't Microsoft have a "store free" version for Enterprises who don't want their users to install random games and apps? My organization has to be 800-171 compliant, so k
    • Thanks for the education. I had no idea they'd actually gotten to the point of installing crap like that in an Enterprise edition. How can you be responsible for customers' confidential information when the actual OS is undermining your security efforts? It's like somebody scattering cell door keys around a prison and not expecting problems.

  • A boost to nothing is still nothing.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    WINDOWS WEEKLY 556, 90% CACAO, 10% PWA, Hosted by Leo Laporte, Mary Jo Foley, Paul Thurrott. Discussion of upcoming Microsoft PWA apps.

    https://twit.tv/shows/windows-weekly/episodes/556?autostart=false

  • "The big advantages are that no platform-specific code is required, allowing devs to make apps that run across different platforms, and that PWAs are hosted on the developer's server, so can be updated directly from there (without having to push updates to the app store)."

    Didn't Apple already try something like this? And found, malicious developers would push perfectly 'acceptable' Apps through the store, then update them independently to be malicious/spyware/etc?

  • 1. Why would I want anything like a PWA on my desktop PC?

    2. How do I turn it off/disable it/prevent it from getting on my desktop PC in the first place? (Oh, wait: "Delete Windows 10."?)

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