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PWAs are web apps that feature modern web technologies like Service Worker, Fetch Networking, Web App Manifest Cache API, and Push notification. This lets users enjoy a more app like experience without the need to use the browser. Further, since PWAs are built without platform-specific code, developers can make apps that run across different platforms. Further, these apps are hosted on the developer’s own server. So updates can be issued directly, without the need to push it to an app store first.
Microsoft also notes that PWAs should should be discoverable and hence, they will appear in the Microsoft Store alongside native apps.
“In the next release of Windows 10, we intend to begin listing PWAs in the Microsoft Store. Progressive Web Apps installed via the Microsoft Store will be packaged as an appx in Windows 10 – running in their own sandboxed container, without the visual or resource overhead of the browser,” the company notes in its post.
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Microsoft also says that there would be no conflict between PWAs and its Universal Windows Platform (UWP), and talk of any such conflict is “false dichotomy.” It notes that the two approaches can exists together. “For developers who are building a fully-tailored UWP experience, building from the ground up with native technologies may make the most sense. For developers who want to tailor an existing web codebase to Windows 10, or provide a first-class cross-platform experience with native capabilities and enhancements, PWA provides an on-ramp to the Universal Windows Platform that doesn’t require demoting or forking existing web resources.” In other words, UWP apps will allow developers to create a single app that would run on multiple Windows powered devices, while PWAs would let them create apps that would run across platforms.
Regardless, the addition of PWAs to the Microsoft Store should help boost its app count, which is a good thing for Microsoft as well as users of the platform.