Firefox Desktop Announces No Current Plans for PWA Support

During the last two months, that Firefox browser maintainers have announced that they will remove SSB in Firefox 86. For reasons, Mozilla technicians argue that the feature has several known bugs and costs time in terms of bug triage.

They add that this feature has only been available via a hidden prefix and they also argue that "user research has revealed little or no perceived benefit for the function." For all these reasons, the firefox development team has decided to stop development of this function.

If the Firefox developers seem convinced of the choice of this decision, not the same for many users who turn to the foundation to review this decision.

For many users, whatever the name we give it (Fake App, PWA, SSB ...), the fact that this function is not in Firefox could disconnect more than one user.

Other users question the studies that showed that users did not perceive any advantage over this feature and that led to the adoption of this decision. For others, it is rather the removal of this function that returns the wrong signal.

They add that it would be more interesting to spend a little time perfecting the functionality and make it available as a stable version in Firefox than to remove it completely.

Regarding this last proposal, the Firefox team explains that "even if someone voluntarily proposed a solution that complements the implementation of the SSB functionality", the maintainers of Firefox would have to dedicate resources to review it and what it also costs the ongoing maintenance.

In addition, with limited resources, the team claims they can't afford to spend them on tasks that seem to have less impact on your mission. And to add to the pain of users wanting to use this feature, Firefox software engineer Dave Townsend states that "there is currently no plan for PWA support in Firefox."

In light of this decision, many users are considering keeping or switching to Chrome / Edge due to the lack of this feature. Until then, SSB still supports Firefox 85.

The term progressive web applications is understood to mean web applications that use APIs and functionality of a browser to provide a native user experience to cross-platform web applications.

To make it available to users, the PWA must be delivered at least safely (HTTPS), use one or more service workers and have a web application manifest. Once the PWA is available, the user can install it on their mobile device or computer to use it in a window without an address bar as a native application.

However, designing a PWA does not mean that it will be available for installation in all browsers on all platforms.

For several years, Chrome has supported PWA in your browser, just as Edge does the same. On Android, Firefox also supports PWA, but for computers, Firefox has implemented a PWA-like feature called site-specific browsers (SSB for short).

Once enabled and executed, SSB allows websites to run in their own windows, like a desktop application without an address bar, navigation buttons or other clutter. This functionality, which has never passed the stable version stage, has been hidden for a long time.

And to activate it, the following steps must be followed:

In Firefox we must go to about: config in the address bar and here we must search for "browser.ssb.enabled" by typing ssb in the address bar and replace the corresponding value with "true" by double clicking on false, once this step is completed, you must restart the browser.

Now, when you open any website in the address bar and click on the "Page Action" menu and here you must select "Use this site in application mode" and the site will open in a separate window without address bar.


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