Google Chrome is testing a tabbed mode for Progressive Web Apps

Progressive Web Apps are web pages designed to work like native apps. They are increasingly gaining popularity on the web, with Google reporting a massive 270% increase in web app installs in the last year. PWAs, as practical as they are, have plenty of room to grow. One of the major limitations of web apps is that they don’t support a tabbed experience. In other words, a web application cannot open multiple pages in a single window. But that could change soon.

According to a recent update on Chrome Platform Status, Google is working on adding a tab strip for web application windows. The proposed tabbed mode will allow web applications to open links and pages in tabs in the same window. Currently, when you click on a link in a web app, it opens in the web browser, with the web app fading in the background. This will change with tab mode.

Currently, PWAs in a standalone window can only have one page open at a time. Some applications expect users to open multiple pages at once. Tabbed mode adds a strip of tabs to standalone web applications that allows multiple tabs to be open at once.

A screenshot shared by a member of the Chrome team shows what the tabbed experience will look like. Note that the feature is still in development, so the UI may not be finalized. Google also notes that they are only building this feature for the desktop at this time. There are currently no plans for Android support.

As you can see from the screenshot, tabs are very similar to browser tabs except that all tabs belong to a single web application.

Chrome users can currently try out the experimental Tab Bar UI by enabling the following feature flag: chrome://flags/#enable-desktop-pwas-tab-strip.

Source: Chrome Platform Status, Google Groups

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