From the author: Progressive web apps are changing our understanding of apps by providing an app-like web form. It is a way of describing applications that take advantage of new features supported by modern browsers, including service workers and web application manifests, and allow users to upgrade web applications to progressive web applications regardless of their own operating system.
But PWAs have had some privacy concerns over the years. This resulted in Apple blocking several PWA features in Safari.
However, other browsers like Chrome and Firefox continued to actively support PWA development.
Mozilla recently released Firefox 85, which is designed to protect against supercookie. This release also dropped support for an important feature of the desktop PWA. Let’s see what it is.
Firefox is ditching an experimental feature that supports the installation of Progressive Web Apps on a personal PC. This feature is known as a site-specific browser – SSB.
Mozilla has already stated that they may drop SSB support in future releases. The reason for this removal can be found in the comment on the bug tracking system.
The SSB feature has several known bugs. User research has shown that there is little or no benefit to users of this feature, so there is currently no intention of continuing to develop it. Since this feature is time consuming in terms of sorting errors, and maintaining it falsely signals that it is a supported feature, we are going to remove this feature from Firefox.
What is SSB?
SSB is an experimental feature that allows any website to run as a desktop application with its own window. The site-specific browser feature, which was available in Firefox 73 and later, allowed any website to run in a window with a minimal user interface.
Does this violate the contract?
It all depends on your point of view and the intended use of the PWA. If you think PWA is a way to get apps that are platform agnostic and work like native apps, then this solution may be disappointing. If you think a PWA is just a shortcut on your desktop, you probably won’t bother with this change.
There are a number of people who are unhappy with this decision, but the percentage is quite low compared to the total number of users. This is mainly because it was an experimental feature that few people knew about.
As Jan says:
Users won’t be upset that they have no idea what they are being denied, and why should they care if you had to put in the extra effort to create your own application anyway?
As technology advances at a rapid pace, companies spend a lot of resources on research and development. Experimental features are important as they shape the future of the application.
But when the time comes and when PWAs become a separate browser feature, Firefox could lose a significant number of users in favor of alternative browsers due to this move.
Why all this fuss?
A common trend in the tech world is when:
The company takes a radical step
Competitors make fun of them
A few years later, competitors who ridiculed such a move accept it.
You can associate this with several notable incidents such as the removal of the headphone jack, the removal of the Home button on mobile phones, and the most recent incident, the removal of the charger from the mobile phone box.
It was mentioned that the reason for the removal of SSB was errors that cause problems and take up valuable time. In this case, alternative browsers such as Chrome and Edge may also find this step helpful. In such a scenario, we could temporarily lose the desktop PWA as such incidents have happened in the past. While this is unlikely, there is always a chance that something like this will happen, especially in the tech world.
Author: Mahdhi Rezvi
A source: blog.bitsrc.io
Editorial staff: Webformyself team.
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