The “Web Wrapper” or Web application that is arbitrarily packaged into native applications to be distributed in the App Store has been on Android for more than a decade. Google last year created a new way to convert web applications to local applications, Introduced trusted network activity, And now Microsoft has updated it PWABuilder Tools to take advantage of updated network functions.

If you are not familiar with them, Trusted Web Activities allows developers to run web applications within Chrome custom tabs without displaying the address bar or any other Chrome parts. Unlike WebViews, which has been embedding web content in original applications for more than a decade, Trusted Web Activities supports push notifications, offline access, and all other operations that web applications can perform in Chrome.

However, TWA applications still have a major problem-they still have to be compiled like native applications, usually using the full Android Studio SDK. Google doesn’t allow developers to generate APKs and app packages simply by entering the app’s URL in the Play console. Just like Samsung did in the Galaxy Store.

Thankfully, Google is working to improve the tools commonly used to generate “trusted network activity” applications. Some Google employees (the document clearly states “This is not a Google product”) have been working hard Bubble wrap, This is the command line application used to build the TWA project. Developers who use Bubblewrap to generate native applications do not need to install the entire Android SDK, only Node.js.

PWA example ( And application shortcuts

At the same time, Microsoft has updated its web-based PWABuilder Use Bubblewrap’s tools in the background, which means more features can be used. For example, PWABuilder can now detect when web applications support Home screen shortcutAnd will add the same shortcut to the compiled APK. PWABuilder now also has options for changing the appearance of the Android status/navigation bar, the startup screen of the application, fallback behavior, etc.

New options available in PWABuilder

It’s great to see the builder tool integrated into the Google Play console, but at least there are now many options to generate APKs from Progressive Web Apps without having to install Android Studio and use XML resources.

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