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brochard
Making moves
Status: In review

Progressive Web apps are an important feature of a browser that Firefox is the only one missing.
For some, it can be the reason to switch to another browser.
In other cases like for the Steamdeck, it's what imposed the choice to only include Chrome in the SteamOS interface.
Other problem even for avid Firefox users, since I wanted Social apps on my pc I had to get them on the Microsoft Store which is an Edge PWA that opens every link in an Edge window, making me use this... other browser.

380 Comments
JSeb
Strollin' around

@hazmil I agree that it depends om the use case and user's preferences. But, to me, it's a incredible MUST.

ZenoArrow
Strollin' around

For all those people in this discussion that don't have a use for PWA, good for you, but you're not really adding to this discussion. This discussion is for those that would like the feature to state the case for why they would like it. Perhaps your energy would be better spent advocating for features you would like in a different discussion rather than wasting your time in this one, you'll not convince others that have tried PWA in other browsers that what they're asking for is wrong just by saying you wouldn't use them.

JSeb
Strollin' around

@ZenoArrow I don't agree with you. I want PWA strongly,but people that doesn't want PWA can still bring something to the discussion. Everyone should be able to write here, but I wish it would be something useful and not just bashing, though. Some could propose ways to make something different but as good as PWA. 

ben2talk
Strollin' around

@ZenoArroware you upset that some people question your reasons for requesting this?

I believe that most of the arguments thrown up here are invalid (like 'you can make a website open and not tied to anything' = incognito, or 'unaffected by other apps' - as is any alternative Firefox window/profile.

After initial excitement about the function (with Vivaldi it's labelled better as 'create shortcut' and with Linux it's better, because you can choose any browser) the fact that I couldn't easily set a webapp for Yahoo Mail, for example, which also contained my most important extensions and/or settings - and which then isolated me ... for example, instead of my normal 'search with SearXNG' I get 'search with Google' for a webapp which is bloody annoying.

Shuggsy
Strollin' around

The web browser is the primary window through which people interact with the internet. PWA have, for better or worse, become more of the norm since Mozilla decided they would abandon the development effort on it in Firefox to shift their resources elsewhere.

That's all well and good, but while Mozilla have been busy on things few people actually want (such as an extensions button that cannot be removed or even moved) other browsers have been actually developing and working on things people use. They built capabilities and people started using them.

Please, please get back to developing for the users! PWAs are just one capability but an increasingly important one.

SurviveFirefox
New member

So true. Progressive Web Apps are so important today, when so much workflow is based around  browsers. I liked Firefox before, but since Google integrated the Web Integrity Test in Chromium, I've been loving Firefox (and even more after version 117). I want to ditch Chromium based browsers. But using PWAs has become such a convenience and an habit that it's stopping me from fully switching to Firefox, as if I use Firefox as the browser and PWAs run on Edge, which obviously, taxes both the memory, CPU, and hence battery life. So when I'm using PWAs, I have to stick to Edge. And please bring this feature as the more polished one (from Edge) for Linux users.

vinnom
New member

@ben2talkI ought to disagree with you on arguments you pointed being invalid. I also get kinda upset on people complaining to others users requests, more on that later.

Incognito has nothing to do with PWA window being not tied to anything. It's more a layout thing, were PWA window is not linked to main layout browser - as a native app would behave.

Also, Firefox window/profile is nothing close to PWA. Because PWA is intended to behave, again, as a native app, but which runs on browser on engine. So it has its own window and icon... it is as it doesn't depend on browser to run, instead it does. It's more like an Electron application, but which doesn't need to be installed. Different profiles and windows won't make what PWA does, because it's not intended to.

So those arguments are not invalid because PWA is useful for what is intended to be: a native-like web application.

About people complaining about this request, it just doesn't make sense. Look, you don't like PWA. If it gets implemented again you would lose... nothing. PWA is not the default, however it should be there for those who need it. And considering that people sometimes stop using Firefox because this is a game change feature for a lot of us. For those this feature is not, you won't lose anything if we get it. See how meaningless is to complaint against a feature which, if implemented, wouldn't change your life but would for others? It's futile to debate against who wants it back, you won't convince me or others here that PWA is unecessary, because it is. And notice that we don't want to make it necessary to you, we would like just that people that doesn't needed it, don't make it even hard to request it.

Moreover, to be against any feature request that doesn't change the default behavior, but instead add something to it, seems a really silly thing to expend energy on.

ben2talk
Strollin' around

"If it gets implemented again you would lose... nothing."

This isn't quite true. Firefox would have to put considerable resources into supporting it... so it doesn't ONLY affect me.

I still haven't met a single genuine reason for launching a website as a 'PWA' except that it opens without navigation, and without the profile of the user (it is an isolated instance).

Furthermore, it has no bearing on people being able to use Firefox as a main browser, and for a few things for which they need a PWA they can do that another way - obviously with Linux we have a webapp manager, which enables me to create PWA's - though I still fail to see the benefit or the point of them after the initial excitement.

 

Ekol
Strollin' around

Honestly I don't get why this isn't a thing considering that Firefox Nightly for Android already re-implemented this (I'm not sure if it reached the stable release yet). It looks like Mozilla themselves don't think it's that nonsensical.

Waytoogo
Strollin' around

@ben2talk

This is why we can't have nice things. You can't find a use for it, so nobody should have it. I have 3 web apps that I use daily. Since Firefox does not have that ability I am stuck using Edge for my web apps. I don't use Edge for anything else, I use Firefox. I have Firefox setup exactly like I need it, something no other browser can do. So because you can't find a use for pwa's, I have to have two browser engines running at the same time, taking up memory and CPU, that would not be needed if Firefox would move into the 21st century like every other browser. I don't just find web apps useful, I find them necessary to do my daily tasks. If I could make Edge Work and look like Firefox does, I would just use it, but here I am stuck using two Browsers at the same time. Please stop fighting this, for Firefox to survive, it needs to get this done.

vinnom
New member

@ben2talk 

so you basically you saying that if you see no value, other should see no value. Notice that I don't want to convince you PWA has value. But your argument seems to involve not caring about what people saying that works for them.

And Firefox spending resources on re-implementing and supporting it wouldn't be so much a hassle that the features that you want get out of it. Request things you want to be in and try to make it in. Then you won't need to try to make other users requests invalid. You're impacting users negatively trying to make it look like that it is positive for you and others. It doesn't need to be that way.

Furthermore, "it has no bearing on people being able to use Firefox" - the whole point is not needing to do this just because one key feature is missing. If I have to be using two browsers JUST because of this, this is more troublesome than it looks.

ben2talk
Strollin' around

"so you basically you saying that if you see no value, other should see no value"

Sorry, has ANYONE explained the 'value' at all? Or is everyone just saying they want it without explaining what the 'benefits' are?

Apart from the misnomer (a PWA is actually a Progressive Web Application - which is software that runs in a browser) I have yet to see a valid request.

Here is a 'PWA' which can simply be loaded by opening https://www.lazada.co.th/ in a browser. The webapp runs in a tab, which can also be popped out if you don't want it running with a UI.

And furthermore, from the previous implementation of Firefox's webapp manager I remember that it doesn't carry anything from your profile, or your extensions - it simply appeared to open a separate tab with no user UI which is just as easily attained by using pop-up window https://github.com/ettoolong/PopupWindow.

Perhaps some people should, instead, try to point out the value of PWA shortcuts aside from simply putting extra icons/click targets on your desktop.

People need to work out what 'PWA support' means, for many the thought is probably more akin to Mobile browsers (where you add a specific launch icon for a specific web page) which is something people don't need on a desktop.

Also, the Desktop feature is a heavy feature to support... https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=1602117 and https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=1602117#c7 explained this very well - including many things which were never implemented.

Do people need this to avoid installing things from the Windows app store?? I mean, really, why are people voting for this?

Without decent supporting arguments - and that means SPECIFIC arguments, then just voting on a wish list is pretty meaningless wouldn't you think?

In short - I can access ANY progressive web application easily from my main menu without needing to first launch a browser because I can access all my bookmarks that way - and so I don't think there's a need to create specific desktop icons to access them - it's a pretty outdated method of launching applications/websites.

eboe
New member

@ben2talk 

You do understand that there are things that DON'T HAVE APPS on the windows app store, and people want to create stand-alone apps for those. There is no stand-alone Libby app, for instance, and I am playing Starfield. I usually run with a ton of tabs open, and I don't want to have my normal browser window open, but I want to be able to stream an audiobook while I play my game. I had to use Edge to create an app since Firefox doesn't support it anymore. My spouse is trying to create an app for a to-do-list site that certainly has no app. Both Edge and Chrome inexplicably are causing their laptop screen to flash black alternately, yet Firefox does not do that. Explain to me how they can get around this? 

ben2talk
Strollin' around

@eboeThen simply create a new profile for your browser and run the PWA like that.

All that a 'PWA shortcut' does is to run the web application in a browser window separate from your main browser profile. Some 'applications' which you can install from the software stores are not really 'applications' in the same sense as your binary applications on the computer, they are often just browser platforms to run web applications which run exactly the same way that they do in a browser.

These can work just as well with any browser - even spyware browsers like Edge and Chrome.

Again, it's more of a Windows issue really, because when Firefox dropped support in the browser, it wasn't a problem to create a separate 'application' launcher using the webapp manager on Linux - which will run the PWA in a window using any browser installed on the system.

So, to do this with Firefox, launch `Firefox -p` and create a new profile called 'PWA', for example. Open it and install the `pop-out` extension - then launch your Libby PWA and pop it out. You can close your main browser.

I don't think it's reasonable (though a very vocal minority do shout very loudly about it) that people think it's normal to keep hundreds of tabs open even when they aren't using them TBH - I'm curious what the Firefox devs think about this.

What I do know is that there were many issues with the Firefox implementation - remember also that it has to work with all different architectures for which Firefox is installable - and it was a decision by the Firefox team that the amount of money and effort that went into trying to push the PWA feature were basically not worth it.

2001zhaozhao
New member

From the perspective of developing browser games, it is concerning that Firefox has no native support for PWAs.

Here are two irreplaceable benefits of PWAs:

  • PWAs prevent Ctrl+W from closing the browser tab. "Ctrl+W" is a common hotkey in 3D games that usually means "crouch and move forwards".
  • PWAs allow the game to be played in windowed mode without the annoying and ugly address bar that does not belong in a browser game (except using clunky UX like opening popup windows).

 

Example of Ctrl+W shortcut being intercepted on a PWA:

https://github.com/microsoft/vscode/pull/164981

The same is not possible on browsers (for good reason). The best you can do is to detect that the user is trying to close the tab with Ctrl key held down, and display a native browser confirmation prompt + some popup in your app itself communicating that Ctrl key is not supported.