Here’s what you get for free with a Progressive Web App

Add to Home Screen banners, special icons, search engine placements and more…

After writing earlier about how you’re not forced to use all the components of Progressive Web Apps together, here’s the counterpoint: if you do follow the PWA recipe, there’s a bunch of added benefits you’ll get from browsers and search engines.

The officially unofficial PWA logo
  • A service worker, so your site can still be served from a cache while offline.
  • A Web App Manifest with a minimal set of properties and appropriate icons, so your site can be launched like a native app from the home screen.

Add to Home Screen banners

The Add To Home Screen banner in Samsung Internet
  • That the user has found it engaging.

Add To Home Screen shortcuts

PWA plus icon a.k.a. ‘ambient badging’ in Samsung Internet

A DeX app

The ‘+’ icon isn’t just a mobile feature. Samsung DeX also brings this same ability to the desktop. So if you build a responsive PWA, you’ll get a desktop app for free — one that can launch in a standalone window, from a desktop icon:

A Chromebook app

Update: Thanks to Trond Kjetil Bremnes for the comment. Chrome OS is also introducing similar desktop support for PWAs. You can be prompted to “Add to shelf”. PWAs can then be launched in a standalone window:

An actual Android app

This one is currently behind a flag, but Chrome’s ‘new and improved’ Add to Home Screen will actually create an Android app wrapper for you. This means your PWA will show up in the Android OS Apps screen and Apps settings, just like other native apps:

My Snapwat PWA showing up in the actual apps list on my Samsung S7
Chrome bookmark icons in Android O — screenshot from Jonathan Cousins

An actual Windows app — and Bing listing

PWAs can also be automatically wrapped as Windows apps for free. Plus, receive placements in the Windows Store and Bing search results:

Windows Store and Bing PWA placements — from Aaron Gustafson’s “Progressive Web Apps and the Windows Ecosystem”

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store