How To Enable Progress Web Apps in Chrome

Progressive Web Apps, or PWAs, are the next big trend in browsing tech.  Designed to give an app-like experience on the web, PWAs are something that Google has been pushing hard as well as Apple and Microsoft.  All three companies, as well as Firefox are all planning to roll out support for the technology this year but Google appears to have the jump.

With Chrome 64, you have the ability to change flags within the browser to enable Progress Web Apps.  While technically not support – generally most flag settings are officially supported – it does work and you can give it a try to see what all the hubbub is about before it gets here in full swing later this year.  In this How To, I’ll show you which flags to enable to try out a PWA experience.

First, as mentioned, you need to have the latest build of Chrome for your Mac or Windows PC (I’m assuming this works on Linux too but I do not have a machine to test it on.  If you do, and it works, let me know).  The ability to turn on the flags to enable PWAs came in Chrome 64 which is the current stable build.

Next, you need to go type chrome://flags in the omnibar and enable the following flags:

  • App Banners
  • Experimental App Banners
  • Desktop PWAs
Enabling Progress Web Apps in Chrome
Enabling Progress Web Apps in Chrome

Once you have these enabled, you will need to restart Chrome in order for the flag changes to go into effect.

Now that you have it Progress Web Apps enabled in Chrome, the question is finding a PWA site.  To be honest, there aren’t many of them but probably the best example of how they will work is Twitter.  In your browser, type in mobile.twitter.com after you turn on these flags, you will get the mobile site but in a style that is strikingly similar to the Android app on your phone.

Twitter Progressive Web App
Twitter Progressive Web App

 

Tada!  Progressive Web App!

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