re: AMA, Sam 10-yr Googler in Web DevRel VIEW POST


Hey Sam, how do you feel about PWAs and their future?


I think it's my job to say optimistic! ๐Ÿ˜„๐Ÿ‘

Discovery and mindshare is always going to be a challenging problem. But even in 2016 (!), our stats from Santa Tracker showed that 10% of all Android launches came from the home screen icon, so it's not insurmountable either. Some of the ways we've tried to make the web more discoverable haven't worked eitherโ€”there used to be a beacon protocol which'd announce URLs on your Android, but that's been cut, and QR codes aren't exactly ubiquitous.

And this is all while every modern browser can actually register SWs, use their own cache and run offline. 99% of your users don't know this is happening. I'm still surprised when sites like dev.to do anything while my internet is down, and my job is literally to promote this behavior. And to be clear, I don't think being on the home screen is necessarily the ultimate goal of PWAs either. I don't want Reddit on my home screen but I'd love it if the experience was better when I do go there.

I'm reassured by the big players like Twitter and Facebook building proper PWAs, as that happens, I think your classic 'agencies' who are told by their customers that "we need an app" will have more data to push back on that and argue for web-only. I'm always amused when some single-purpose app is built for no particularly good reason (... I'm excited to see what @ShouldBePWA tweets next). I think this sort of 'fixing the long tail' will be what actually brings PWAs into the limelight.


Thanks for the response!

I'm a big fan of PWAs and am writing a series on them at the moment. Google is clearly supporting PWAs, but Apple still seems to lack behind. Do you see them increasing their support or get behind PWAs in the way Google has done?

I have no insight into Apple's motivations but we've seen some progress (reading the Web App Manifest, Service Worker support, ...). I can also plug PWACompat as a partial solution to some of Apple's problems... but it won't get you ATHS prompts. I don't think that should always be the ultimate goal, but it's what most people equate PWA success to.

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