December 21, 2017
  • All
  • Progressive Web Apps
  • PWA
  • service workers

Prime Time for PWAs

Mike Hartington

Director of Developer Relation...

What is going on, folks! Mike here, with some incredible news. As of today, Edge and Safari have both shipped support for Service Worker in their developer previews! 🎉🎊

This is a huge step towards making Progressive Web App’s first class citizens on iOS and Windows. I wanted to take a moment and give a quick history lesson of how we got to this point and how this changes everything

In the Beginning…

When Service Worker was first introduced, it was a drastic change from the traditional caching mechanisms browsers had in the past. Instead of a clunky, obscure cache file, we finally had an API in JavaScript that allowed us, the developer, to be in control. With it came a whole new way of building apps for the web, and to better manage apps in an offline context.

Progressive Web Apps pushed the web forward, and at the center it all was Service Worker. It was responsible for making sure apps still worked when the network was spotty, handling uploads in the background, and making sure we could send notifications to our users. But for a long time it was a feature only available in Chrome. For many developers, the lack of support from other browsers was enough to stop them from caring about PWAs, or write them off as being not ready.

However, soon other browsers saw the potential and started adding support for Service Workers and, in doing so, support for the full PWA API set. Firefox added support next, then a few smaller browsers, until the last two remaining were Microsoft Edge and Apple Safari.

So Here We Are

So, as of this week, both Edge and Safari support Service workers! This is HUGE deal, as now every major browser will support Service Worker. This means that all your apps will be able to cache content and work offline, no matter what browser they’re in. Even more encouraging is that Safari is already underway working on support for Web App Manifest, so developers can expect to see their PWAs saved to a user’s home screen on iOS in the near future.

At Ionic, we’ve already been singing the praises of Service Worker and PWAs for some time now (and the web, in general). Developers who use Ionic already have Service Workers integrated into their apps out of the box through our CLI and tooling. With Safari and Edge now adding support, PWAs can finally take center stage and become a prime deploy target for many apps!

What’s Next

We recently just launch a new page dedicated to everything Progressive Web Apps. So if you’re still not sure what a PWA is or just need a refresher, take a look! You’ll learn everything from the basics, who’s already deploying PWAs, and what kind of effects PWAs are having on products.

Also, keep an eye out for updates on the next release of Ionic in the new year. We’ve built this next release exclusively with PWAs in mind. We’re also working on new hosting service that will help you take advantage of all these new PWA features, which we’ll be talking more about in the new year!


Mike Hartington

Director of Developer Relation...