Google Chrome PWAs will soon work better, thanks to Microsoft

Google Chrome

Microsoft is working with Google on a new change that will
improve the experience of Chrome-based web apps. After the
feature is added to Chromium, PWAs will be restored properly
and the operating system will remember their state even when
Chrome is restarted/relaunched due to update or crash.

“Session state currently only includes tabbed windows, not
PWAs. This must change. In some circumstances, PWAs must be
restored on browser restart. But PWA session state must be kept
logically separate from tabbed window session state, to help
maintain the illusion that PWAs are like native apps rather
than part of the browser,” Microsoft explained
the idea in a document.

This change will restore web apps via the ‘browser session
restore system’. Restoration will work in this way:

  • When PWAs are restored attributes normally tracked for
    browser windows will be tracked and restored (e.g. window
    position, screen, dimension etc).
  • Opening a PWAs directly should not trigger restores like
    normal windows do. (For example, opening a Twitter PWA should
    do just that and nothing else; don’t restore PWAs, don’t open
    the browser (except on macOS where there are some limitations).
  • Opening a browser directly should behave as it does today –
    and still should not restore PWAs in most cases.

On Windows and Linux, Microsoft noted that the normal browser
restoration and PWA restoration should not impact each
other. The restore data-structure is flexible enough to
support additional fields such as the web app’s window
positioning or display-mode.

This approach extends browser session restore to store PWA and
tabbed browser sessions in separate files. A restore can
restore both kinds of sessions – only browser tabbed sessions
or only PWA sessions.

“The separation between browser session and app session is not
an illusion – it would be actually implemented that way.
Closing and opening PWAs will never impact browser session,”
Microsoft noted.

Microsoft is planning to introduce these PWAs improvements with
Chromium 91 for all operating systems.

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