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[feature-request] WebApps as “First-Class Citizens”

asked 2014-05-07 05:14:34 +0200

Racum gravatar image

updated 2014-11-26 10:36:02 +0200

eric gravatar image

This is my first post, sorry for it being a bit long! there was no other way, this feature is not a “just add a button for that”, it is actually a set a complex features that work as one.

To make my point clear, I divided the topic in levels, from the basic functionality to the “nice to haves”, the points are a compilation of good practices already in use for other platforms and some original ideas to make this implementation “Unlike”. :)

Level 1 - Basic Functionality:

1.1 - Add a “Add to Home” action in the Browser App: could be an option of the bookmark (“star”), or a contextual menu on a saved bookmark. (Edit: this is now possible since update

1.2 - Add shortcut to Launcher: the system should analyze the page looking for an “app capable” meta tag, we could define a generic “mobile-web-app-capable” and use the already popular "apple-mobile-web-app-capable" as a fallback. If this meta tag is present, the system should add an icon the launcher pointing to a sandboxed webview to the URL; and, if the meta tag is not set, the Browser app (or “default” browser in the future) should open the URL.

1.3 - Add system integration: in the case of a “app capable” page, the webview should have its own thumbnail, with multitask capabilities (as many thumbnails as web apps running).

1.4 - Icon: the icon in the Launcher should be collected from a meta tag like “sailfish-touch-icon” to make it possible for the developer to “blend in” with native apps when in Sailfish OS. The standard “icon” or “shortcut icon” should be used as fallbacks.

1.5 - Sandbox: the web app webview should have it’s own storage (LocalStorage, Session, Cookies, IndexedDB), independent of the Browser app. Also the storage quotas could be bigger, since an user action put the shortcuts there.

Level 2 - Visual Enhancements:

2.1 - Ambience tint colors: the webview could make the set of ambience colors usable for the developer, a good approach is use as CSS aliases for color names, like “ambience-color”, ambience-highlight” and “ambience-secundary”, using as aliases also avoids exposing the hex colors, that could be used to weaken the privacy of the user.

2.2 - Ambience background “see-through”: the “body” element should show the ambience image when the “background-color” is set as “transparent” deliberately (something that only make sense in Sailfish OS). The default value for the built-in CSS should still be “white”.

Level 3 - Deeper Integration:

3.1 - Thumbnail visual and actions: the running app thumbnail could have a native entry point into Javascript to set the background image, icons and actions. This could be exposed as an object accepting a src for the image (that could even come from a canvas tag) and an array of icons + callback functions could make this integration possible.

3.2 - Notifications: just adhere to Web Notifications API and display with the native UI.

3.3 - Some canonical UI framework: something like WinJS for Microsoft or bbUI.js from BlackBerry; a way to have standard components resembling the native UI, or even wrappers to the native ones (not sure if this one is possible).

That’s it! …my wishlist for a perfect WebApp integration! And, being very honest, the Sailfish platform needs as much apps as it can get at the moment! Set the WebApps as first-class citizens can help everybody: Jolla, developers and users.

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No platform needs "as much apps as it can get". What's the point of 200 000 apps when 99,99 % of them is crap? What we need is the most popular, high quality apps, ported to Sailfish/Jolla.

eson ( 2014-06-12 07:25:10 +0200 )edit

I agree, but the problem is that "most popular, high quality apps" means different collection of apps for different people living in different places/countries/cultures. So, in that sense the idea "as much apps as it can get" helps each other to find his/her important apps from app store.

I like this idea of webapps, it helps Sailfish OS come and keep itself relevant. There are over million Firefox OS devices in use which hopefully will increase the number of web services that are optimized for webapps access in the future. Ubuntu Touch will also promote webapps as a 1st class citizens to form a way to fill the gaps of it's app store.

pata ( 2014-08-02 08:52:14 +0200 )edit

Also, this is pretty much what the GNOME project's Epiphany (Web) browser is capable of doing. So, the feature request is essentially: that, but with the Jolla/Sailfish browser.

nthn ( 2014-08-18 21:27:16 +0200 )edit

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answered 2014-06-11 23:17:27 +0200

ssahla gravatar image

Adding shortcuts to webpages in the launcher is planned for update 8 (July).

Source: https://lists.sailfishos.org/pipermail/devel/2014-June/004529.html

I'm guessing it'll be on the "basic functionality" level, but that's one step forward :)

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Just to clarify for anyone looking for this, you have bookmark a page, then go to the new tab page, then long press a bookmark, and select 'add to grid'. I looked for it before, couldn't find it, and assumed the browser didn't have the feature!

Also, there doesn't seem to be much further progress on this front. If it's in the web manifest for a page, these links should open full window without bars, which also means as a separate window, but at the moment they are just shortcuts that open the browser app.

I notice that Firefox have just added support in the 57 version, which is currently in beta, hopefully this will make it easier for Sailfish Browser, given that it's based on Gecko.


jb ( 2017-10-28 02:38:40 +0200 )edit
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Asked: 2014-05-07 05:14:34 +0200

Seen: 681 times

Last updated: Aug 18 '14