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Apps > Install this site as an app

January 29, 2020 by Steven Ng

Confessions of a Tab Hoarder

I've been using Edge Chromium as my primary browser on Windows for quite some time now, and I like it a lot. In the past few months, I don't think I've opened up Chrome on Windows except by mistake. Honestly, I don't miss Chrome at all.

I've always had a bad habit of having too many tabs open (often more than 50). More often than not, instead of trying to find an existing tab, I'll just open a duplicate, which exacerbates my problem.

Roll Your Own PWA

Edge has a very cool feature that lets you roll your own PWA (progressive web application) out of a web site. In other words, it will create a single-site application that is accessible from the Windows Start menu. It also means that the generated PWA gets its own spot on your taskbar, using the site's favicon as the icon. No more tab hunting.

For a tab hoarder like me, this is a life changing feature. I have a ton of web apps that I'm constantly using throughout the day, so this makes life a lot easier.

As always, there's a catch. The feature doesn't work great with all sites/web apps. If the web app you're using has to proliferate new tabs or windows, it's not a great candidate, as those tabs/windows will open up in Edge. For example, if you're thinking this technique is a great way to use Dropbox Paper or Google Apps1, you're wrong.

On the other hand, if you're using it for something like Feedly, Github or PGAdmin4, it's great. I have a lot of containerized web apps like PiHole that work great as PWAs.

So how do you enable this magical feature?

If you're running Edge for Chromium, just browse to a site (ideally, you go to the exact page you want to start from, since that will be the page you see when launching the PWA), go to the menu, Apps > Install this site as an app. Give the app a new name if the default isn't to your liking, and bam, you're done!

Footnotes

  1. If you're looking for a way to handle multiple Google accounts for email and calendaring, check out Easymail for Gmail. I bought a license during the 1.x days, and it was fine but not something I could use daily. The latest release, 2.x, is a complete rewrite, and works much better than the previous iteration. Full disclosure, I wasn't paid to say that.