Mozilla has given me one reason to use Chrome on mobile.

This is a part of the 100 Days To Offload challenge.

With its v85 release, Mozilla has announced they are removing support for PWAs.

“The SSB feature has only ever been available through a hidden [preference] and has multiple known bugs,” Mozilla’s Dave Townsend explains in a Bugzilla issue tracker. “Additionally, user research found little to no perceived user benefit to the feature and so there is no intent to continue development on it at this time. As the feature is costing us time in terms of bug triage and keeping it around is sending the wrong signal that this is a supported feature, we are going to remove the feature from Firefox.”

Firefox 85 is Here, But Mozilla is Killing PWA Features

Although largely led by Google as far as I’m aware, I do use PWAs a lot and understand why it makes sense as a developer. With a day job and side projects, for example, I do not have the energy and inclination to learn React Native or Flutter or Kotlin/Swift and write an entire application in addition to the website/webapp itself.

PWAs fit that small space for me in between full-blown native apps and just… websites that are quite a bit more usable on mobile relative to opening up a browser tab. I don’t think what Mozilla did is outright unjustified, but the difficult part to accept is that this makes Firefox that much less recommendable in today’s age… when it’s already gasping for a market share.

I have already moved all my PWAs from Firefox to Chrome on my phone. I actually get splash loading screens now, and the shortcuts integrate properly into my launcher. They are searchable, organizable, and do not glitch out randomly.

I have a Hometown server (soft-fork of Mastodon), whose “extra” features only work through their interface. Miniflux doesn’t have a native app. Chrome was just this non-removable software on my phone until now, tucked away into hidden drawers. Now it works as a base for the PWAs I use.