Progressive Web App (PWA) Support

AppStudio 7.4 brings support for Progressive Web Apps (PWA). The idea behind PWAs is to give users a more native app like experience when using Web Apps.

One of the important features of PWAs is the ability to run when there is no internet connection. To do this, the app needs to save all its components locally when it initially loads from the website. The app can then load those instead of going to the web each time you run the app.

Before version 7.4, AppStudio did this using Application Caching. Each app had a manifest containing the list of files to be cached. It worked fairly well, but was not perfect. PWA was designed to fix the problems with Application Caching. The Chrome and Safari teams have announced that Application Caching will be deprecated in future releases of their browsers.

With iOS 12, Apple now supports PWAs (Chrome has for a while), so it was time to update AppStudio to use the new standard.

The good thing is that the change is mostly transparent to AppStudio developers and their users. AppStudio takes care of all the code that is needed to implement a PWA automatically. There are two changes you’ll need to be aware of:
1. You’ll need to provide icons called 72.png, 192.png and 512.png. Put them in the ‘icons folder of your app.
2. The old ‘manifest’ property has been renamed ‘extrafiles’. Put the names of any extra files or folders your app needs here. They will then be deployed with your app. Files named in your old manifest property are automatically carried over.

There are more details about PWAs in our wiki: