In this article, we explain what are web apps, how they differ from native mobile apps or mobile websites, and how you can use Miradore to distribute shortcuts to web apps or regular websites to your Android users.
What is a web application?
A web app is an application that runs on a web server instead of running locally on the device. It is basically a website that runs in a browser and is designed to be accessible on all devices.
What is a progressive web app (PWA)?
A progressive web application is an advanced version of a regular web app. It feels like a native mobile app to the user and has access to the majority of the device features, unlike regular web apps.
How PWAs differ from native mobile apps
PWAs are delivered on the device over the web. The PWAs are basically made of app-imitating web pages, and therefore, they require a lot less storage space on the devices than native mobile apps. Thanks to the browser-based nature of PWAs, they don't need to be updated by the user like native apps, but instead, it is enough to have a shortcut or link to a PWA from the device, and the vendor updates the app centrally.
PWA vs mobile website
What differentiates PWAs from mobile websites is their ability to keep functioning in offline mode and utilize the device functionalities, such as push notifications and the camera, like a native app. In contrast to mobile sites, PWAs also have an icon on the device's home screen which makes PWAs easily accessible and present to the device users.
How to create shortcuts to websites or web apps on Android?
Miradore enables administrators to deploy PWA or website shortcuts to the home screen of any Android Enterprise-managed device through managed Google Play Store.
Requirements and limitations
- Miradore Enterprise subscription.
- Administrator access on your Miradore site.
- Managed Google Play Enterprise enabled.
- Devices must have a Chrome browser installed.
Adding web apps to managed Google Play Store
First, make sure you have configured managed Google Play Store for your Miradore site.
Go to the Management > Applications page, click Add > Android application from the top of the page, and choose the Managed Google Play store option.
This will open up the Google Play iFrame. Go to the Web apps (globe icon) on the left sidebar menu.
There you can create web applications by clicking the round + button.
See the field descriptions below:
- Title: This title will show for administrators in Miradore UI, but also for device users as the name of the app icon.
- URL: The address of the progressive web app or website to launch when the device user taps on the icon.
- Display: Choose the display mode in which the browser will show the website's contents. See Google's documentation for details.
- Icon (optional): The icon should be a rectangular JPG or PNG file in 512x512 resolution. If not defined, a default briefcase icon will be used.
The web app will be published to your organization-managed Google Play Store soon after you have clicked Create.
Wait for a few minutes until Google has processed the app and then click Managed Google Play > Update application list button on Miradore's Applications page. The application should now appear on the application list.
How to distribute the shortcuts to Android devices?
You can distribute the web apps, added to managed Google Play Store, just like other apps in Miradore.
First, select the app on the Applications page. Then use the Deploy button to select the devices where you want to deploy the app.
Aside from that, the apps will automatically appear in the managed Google Play Store on all your organization's devices that are managed with Android Enterprise. Device users can install the app independently from the store.
Removing a web app from devices
You can remove a web app from managed devices like any other app.
You can either use the trash can icon on the Device page or the Delete button on the Devices page.
Android Kiosk mode does not support web apps
Miradore does not support running web apps or PWAs in Kiosk mode on Android devices.
Check also the Android Enterprise Help for more details about the use of web apps on Android.
Have feedback on this article? Please share it with us!
« Adding private Managed Google Play applications
How to add an Android Google Play application »