Microsoft and Google are working together on making Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) better for Android, Microsoft has confirmed. As we have said several times in the past, Microsoft has been betting big on PWAs for quite some time now. In fact, Microsoft’s move to team up with Google happens to be a part of its bigger push towards bridging the native app gap. Microsoft has already been doing it on Windows 10, courtesy of App Shortcuts, Native File System API, and more on Edge and Chrome web browsers.
Microsoft partners with Google over PWAs
Now, Microsoft appears to be taking some of the advanced functionalities of its PWAs to smartphones by bridging the native app gap on Android. Microsoft will try to achieve its PWA goals on Android with the help of PWABuilder, the company’s open-source developer tool that allows developers to build and publish PWAs in app stores.
Microsoft’s collaboration with Google is confined to the latter’s Bubblewrap command-line utility and library that generates and signs Google Play Store packages from PWAs.
“We’re glad to announce a new collaboration between Microsoft and Google for the benefit of the web developer community. Microsoft’s PWABuilder and Google’s Bubblewrap are now working together to help developers publish PWAs in the Google Play Store,” said Microsoft engineer Judah Gabriel Himango.
As a result of this collaboration, Microsoft is announcing a couple of new PWA development features for web developers: Web shortcut features and Advanced Android features and customization.
App shortcuts in Edge and Chrome will make progressive web apps fully compatible with native OS components such as taskbar in the Windows 10 operating system. As a result, users will be able to perform common tasks like composing a tweet directly from the Windows 10 taskbar. Similar to App shortcuts in desktop browsers, web shortcuts will allow developers to implement similar features on Google Play Store apps.
“We’re pleased to announce support for shortcuts in PWABuilder. Thanks to our collaboration with Google’s Bubblewrap, PWAs you package for the Google Play Store through pwabuilder.com will now receive full support for shortcuts,” Himango further added.
At the time Microsoft initially started working with Google’s Bubblewrap, the company’s PWABuilder open-source developer tool lacked customizations to Android packages. Microsoft has now updated PWABuilder to provide developers with full customizability over their Android app package.
As a result, developers can now customize package ID, app name, launcher name, app version, notifications, among other things.