(Progressive) Web Apps

I wonder where my old account on the old forum went, but anyway - have you guys heard about “progressive web apps” (PWA)? Would you accept such submissions or make a f-droid repository for such? Here are some of my considerations regarding the topic: Web Apps revisited (PWA) + Geolocation for Augmented Reality + local File-I/O for Web Stack on Desktop. Some more consideration about a PWA app store: could sign WASM or verify submissions, catalogue and distribute via “add to homescreen”, URL bookmarking, full download or other techniques. The idea is to create something similar to the distro repositories known in the free/libre software world and f-droid, demanding that those apps come with their code to avoid the SaaSS loophole. Features like user reviews or obligatory/voluntary payment to the developers could be considered, as well as crawling the web to discover existing web apps.

At least, this notion opens a way to develop and use apps in the mobile world with 100% free/libre software, which I failed to do in native app development. And they also work on desktop PCs and notebooks, so there wouldn’t even be the need to use proprietary software common on mobile devices.


We will include any Android apps that are 100% free software, there is no specific bias against the programming platform or language. But I guess PWAs are not plain Android apps, e.g. APKs? F-Droid also has fledgling support for any file, so can experiment right now. Just throw a PWA package file into an F-Droid repo and try it out.

Great topic! I also want to publish a PWA.

The thing is that PWA’s are generally installed by a browser, to handle stuff like service workers and push notifications. So it’s not clear where to begin to package it for F-Droid.

It is a question how to best integrate with F-Droid, so that F-Droid could hopefully offer the best integration.

I think PWA’s are a big thing. I have written a libre PWA and hope to release it to F-Droid sometime.

A very interesting topic. The problems I see:

  • PWAs need a Web browser; I don’t think we want to integrate Web browser into F-Droid.
  • How can F-Droid check whether a particular PWA is free software or not?
  • Push notifications are required for PWAs. There’s no free/libre implementation for Android yet.
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Yes! I’m not experienced in Android / Java but appreciate the work that you do in bringing freedom to all.

About your concerns:

  • Browser: One could assume the OS has a browser already. The question is whether PWA installation by the system browser (or another of the user choice, e.g. Firefox) can be triggered from F-Droid.
  • Licenses: Same as with other apps, by directly distributing the sources and requiring appropriate licenses.
  • Push notifications are actually not required. Also, the browser is supposed to take care of that.

The browser takes care of push notifications by using a proprietary service, I think that’s what @relan is referring to. Even Firefox includes the proprietary Google library so it can access Google Cloud Messenging, the proprietary push service.

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