After losing its market in the mobile sector, Microsoft is trying hard to integrate its flagship Windows 10 experience with hybrid apps. In a Nutshell, Microsoft wants the Microsoft Store to be as wholesome as Google PlayStore or Apple App store. We know that Microsoft has successfully integrated Windows 10 and Microsoft Edge browser with the new software development interface called PWA.
PWA is the first step behind Microsft’s goal to make Windows 10 and Edge experience closer to what the consumers want. Without getting into the complexity let me explain what PWA is. Unlike traditional applications, the progressive web apps made under the PWA are a hybrid of webpages and mobile applications. The new application attempts to combine the features offered by browsers with the mobile experience.
Google has been the champion of PWAs since its introduction. PWA is the main reason why there’s a seamless integration between Google’s web apps and the respective offerings in the mobile department. Microsoft wanted to follow the same road, that is why they were offering developers a way to turn their webpages/apps into Microsoft Store apps using the “Westminster” bridge. Unfortunately, Microsoft’s bridge was not well received by the developers. So, Microsoft has joined forces with Google and other PWA backers to get PWA support in Windows 10.
Building on that, Microsoft has announced that they have complete technical control on PWA now and Windows 10 along with the edge browser now fully supports it. Microsoft is making its developers comfortable with the said software development interface. Developers also have options to submit their work for the Store using PWA only. They can also generate an AppX with a PWA, using Microsoft’s PWA builder tool. By submitting it manually, developers will have the option to distribute their apps in the Microsoft store for Business purposes.
We can see that Microsoft is pushing the use of PWA to fill the gap in its Store. According to ZDNet, they have already rolled out the PWA builder 2.0 to ease out the process for the developers. It offers similar features as the previous build offered with the addition of a Webkit-driven Mac desktop platform and Webkit integration. The developers can now see their PWA scores, and add cross-platform features such as authentication and system integration.
We know, what Microsoft is trying to do with their new builder. They want more and more apps in their Store as soon as possible. It should be noted that traditionally Microsoft used UWP (Universal Windows Platform) for the Windows Store app development. Many experts are raising questions regarding the “Push” into PWA development. They believe that the extended support of PWA will mean death or at least downplaying of UWP while Microsoft continues to insist that it is not planning to abandon its UWP system.
If Microsoft succeeds to achieve its goal using the PWA tools, abandoning UWP seems inevitable in the near future. Only time will tell how Microsoft will tackle such a situation. You can use the new builder by following the link here.