How to Turn Your Favorite Web Apps Into Desktop Apps

You may have noticed that most of our computing is done through web browsers. Web apps and websites can do everything, from viewing movies to creating spreadsheets to checking your emails.
Think about what desktop programs you use most often. For many, it will likely be a web browser, an image editor and possibly an office program. The trend towards working in the cloud is becoming the norm. Microsoft even allows you to stream Windows via a web browser.

It's possible to install some of the most popular web apps on your Windows, macOS or Chrome OS desktop. We'll explain how to do this using progressive web apps (or PWAs).

Progressive Web Apps explained

Progressive web apps are a particular type of web app. PWAs are not available for every app that you can run online. An online app must be developed in a specific way by its developer. It also needs to use a set of coding standards to allow it to function independently as a desktop application.

Twitter, Spotify and Google Chat are some of the most well-known PWAs. But, there are many others. PWAs are promoted by both Microsoft and Google, which is understandable. It's therefore the best way to get them up and running is via the Microsoft Edge or Google Chrome browsers.

Chrome OS allows web app entries to be placed in its main launcher. Chrome OS via David Nield

You won't notice a big difference when you switch from browsing Twitter in a browser to using it in PWA. PWAs run websites in a desktop application wrapper. This means that a lot of functionality will remain the same. You can treat them as desktop applications and enjoy a variety of benefits.

This allows you to manage your apps from the taskbar (Windows), dock(macOS) or shelf (Chrome Os). PWAs allow you to manage notifications from these apps at the operating system level. They can also be treated differently than the notifications that come from your browser. These apps will be listed on the main app list. You don't have to open your browser to access them.