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Chrome pauses requirement for PWAs to work while offline

Google has announced that they’re delaying their original plans for Chrome to enforce Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) to have functioning offline support.

One of the main benefits of using a Progressive Web App as opposed to a normal website is that by being “installed,” the app can have some offline capabilities. Back in February, Google announced their intentions to require that PWAs work in some capacity while offline. To that end, Chrome 89 gained the ability to perform tests to verify that the offline version of an app loads correctly before allowing that app to be installed.

For instance, apps like Chrome Labs’ Squoosh can work entirely offline, despite being built on web technology, as all of the work is being done on your device. Of course, many installable web apps, such as Twitter and Stadia, can only do their job properly with an internet connection, while some developers may desire for their ad-supported app to only work while online.

Under the planned requirement — which was set to be enforced starting in August 2021 with Chrome 93 — a PWA wouldn’t necessarily need to offer any functionality while offline. A simple “offline fallback page,” explaining to the user that internet access is required, would do the trick. Chrome would simply check whether the app returned a valid page when accessing the PWA offline.

Today, Google has updated their guidance about the offline requirements of PWAs, putting the planned change on hold, with no proposed date for it to be reintroduced. According to the update, the decision to pause the requirement was made due to issues discovered and feedback given by the web developer community.

In the meantime, Google still strongly recommends web developers create at least a simple offline experience for their Progressive Web App, if only to improve and personalize the experience and offer something better than the Chrome offline dino.

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Avatar for Kyle Bradshaw Kyle Bradshaw

Kyle is an author and researcher for 9to5Google, with special interests in Made by Google products, Fuchsia, and Stadia.

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