In a major breakthrough, Microsoft Edge now supports Native File System API, which will take Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) and their usage to a whole new level. An official roadmap entry points towards the new development, which only means one thing: Bridging the native app gap using modern web technologies.
Microsoft Edge supports Native File System API
Announcing the new development, Microsoft said:
“Microsoft Edge now supports Native File System API. Microsoft Edge now supports giving sites permissions to edit files or folders via the Native File System API.”
Bridging the native app gap
Microsoft Edge finally supporting Native File System API is kind of a big deal. Here’s why:
Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) are clearly the future of software delivery. Over the last few years, the web has evolved into an incredibly powerful platform in itself, and with the introduction and significant adoption of PWAs, the cross-device software delivery became much easier. That’s what prompted so many web developers to shift their focus towards PWAs.
But no matter how great PWAs are, they have certain limitations that we can’t possibly ignore. And these limitations prevent users from replacing native apps with progressive web apps. In short, PWAs can’t do everything that native apps can do. This is what Google, Microsoft, and others are trying to change.
As Sam Richard, Developer Advocate for Chrome OS pointed out at Chrome Dev Summit 2019, web applications bundled in native wrappers force web developers to take on the security and maintenance burden of both keeping the browser and their native wrapper up to date.
“For those that do want to build for the web but need the capabilities of native, they’re forced to bundle web apps in native wrappers.”
You can watch Sam Richard’s full video session below:
This is exactly where Microsoft Edge’s Native File System API support comes into play, and Edge is already rolling out a native PDF editing support that uses this Native File System API.
Microsoft Edge letting users quickly edit and save PDF documents
In the future, Microsoft Edge users can easily save edits made to PDF documents back to the file instead of saving a copy each time.
Starting in Google Chrome 83, a new origin trial has started for the Native File System API for all desktop platforms including Windows, Linux, and macOS. We saw it in action in the text editor demo. But first, we had to enable the Native File System API experiment via chrome://flags.
Now, go to googlechromelabs.github.io/text-editor, create, and save a .txt file on your computer. Interestingly, you can make changes directly to a saved TXT file stored on your using a web app.
Microsoft Edge is extending similar support to editing PDF documents. Both Native File System API and native PDF editing is rolling out to Microsoft Edge Beta Channel.