Augment your app with PWA installation, push notifications & offline

The backstory

In January 2020, I gathered a couple of friends and together we built — on a hunch — the very first COVID-19 app, modestly entitled

PWA installation on iOS (left) and Android (right)

One of Google’s best resources about PWA development is How to provide your own in-app install experience. Among other things, it explains in great detail how to create an install button and how to detect when a PWA has been installed.

It works great… on Chrome.

It wouldn’t be fair to expect Google to write documentation for other browsers. No problem. But since the whole point of PWAs is that they work everywhere, an install button should by definition be browser-agnostic.

(Side note: With Progressier, creating an install button is as simple as adding <button class="progressier-install-button"></button>in your code but if…

My (totally random) prediction: 52% of all PWAs will break with Chrome 93

If you have a PWA and you’ve recently looked at your console or app manifest, you may have noticed this message:

Page does not work offline. Starting in Chrome 93, the installability criteria is changing, and this site will not be installable. for more information

Or if you’re using Edge:

Site cannot be installed: Page does not work offline. The page will not be regarded as installable after Edge 93, stable release August 2021.

You see, before Chrome 93, all you had to do for Chrome to make your app installable was to pretend to listen to the fetch…

Right before 2020 turned into a global shitshow, I gathered a couple of friends and together we came up with an idea for a simple little app we thought would be helpful. Humbly called The Coronavirus App, our app ended up being used by more than 15 million people, making it — I believe — one of the most widely used PWAs ever.

I love the web. And I love PWAs. What’s not to love, really? With a PWA, you only have one code base to manage. Your app works everywhere. …

Spoiler alert: I found some intriguing patterns…

As one of the makers of The Coronavirus App (if the link doesn’t work, check this), I’ve received countless emails asking me whether the data that the app displays could be trusted. My answer has always been the same:

“We can’t really know. But that’s the best data we have at our disposal. “

With the Coronavirus App, the job was to synthesize data reported by official sources as quickly and accurately as possible — and making it visually accessible. We’re app developers — not epidemiologists nor government officials. So when government report…

The Coronavirus App has been helping the world track the spread of COVID-19 since January 28

Earlier this year, we built the very first COVID-19 PWA, humbly named “The Coronavirus App” (if you can’t access this link, check this). Progressive Web Apps (or PWA) are great. They offer the best of both worlds: they look and feel like native apps, but under the hood, they’re actually websites — built with standard HTML, CSS and Javascript.

In these turbulent times, the fact that The Coronavirus App was a PWA didn’t just help — it was probably one of the main reasons for its success.

We were able to launch our PWA very quickly. We came up with…

Kevin Basset

Founder @ Progressier, ex-VP Marketing & Maker of the Very First COVID-19 PWA

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