Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) Can Soon Run at OS Startup

Google is working on an update to Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) that will allow them to launch when a user logs into a computer. This code change and a flag to test this feature were added to Chromium this week.

Update: This is coming to macOS as well. Here is the code change for Mac.

A code change request that we spotted today:

  • Added feature flag “Desktop PWA run on startup”, disabled by default.
  • Added Startup folder to Windows-base paths and shell util.
  • Added “in_startup” entry to Web App Shortcut locations.
  • If the feature flag is enabled, show a checkbox in the PWA install dialog.
  • If checked, PWA install task creates an additional shortcut in
    Windows Startup folder by setting the “in_startup” location to true.

When this feature is ready, you will see an option to “Auto-start” the application at login. The following screenshot provides how this feature might look like. The design and the method, however, is not final.

On Windows 10, this will add an entry to the startup folder located at %APPDATA%\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Startup.

Comes from the Edge Team

The Github page linked from the change log explains this feature in detail. This Github page is part of Microsoft Edge project. However, the code was added to Chromium code base which will make it possible for all Chromium based browses including Chrome to use it.

According to this document, users “expect high-engagement applications like Email clients, Chat, Monitoring Dashboards and Real-time data display apps, to name a few, to start running as part of their OS session start the process. This situation (auto-starting applications) seamlessly enhances the user experience on the device, allowing the user to engage with the application(s) right away after login.”

This is yet another step in making PWAs look and work like native applications. Soon, PWAs will have “App shortcuts” support too.

If you are interested in this new feature, star the bug 897302 to add add your vote and stay up to date on the development.

Source: Gerrit and Git.

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