Snakes In The Ball Pit > Announcements

ballpit as a Progressive Web App

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Lemon:
In the coming year or two, you're (hopefully) going to be hearing more about Progressive Web Apps (PWAs). The general idea is that instead of "make it an app", a PWA is a website with some additional installation instructions. If you consent to "installing" a PWA, it puts a set of necessary files on your device in order to help the thing launch better. This is different than other micro-app approaches (Electron, Adobe Air), because it uses the browser you already have, just gives it a better access point.

PWAs have been a "thing" for a while, but basically only on an Android phone. Google did a lot of early experimentation (changing the spec like a million times just to make my life wonderful), but now Apple is going to be fully supporting PWAs on the iPhone and Microsoft is going even further, allowing PWAs full desktop access and propagating successful PWAs to that Windows Store thing nobody uses. I like this, because I think websites are good and apps are dumb.

Anyway, I'll stop the wonk here and get back to the thread title: Ballpit is a PWA, however I never got it to the point where it ticked all the checkboxes and so there's an additional step involved. If you use ballp.it on your phone frequently (as I do), this might be worth your while. I'll show it to you in Chrome, but the steps are almost identical for Brave, Mobile Firefox, Samsung Internet, etc

Steps:
With ballpit open in a browser, click the kebab menu at the top right


You'll get a whole bunch of options, one of them will be "Add To Home Screen"


A screen will come up asking what you want to name the app, this is the default


The ballp.it icon will get added to your homescreen.


Now if you launch ballp.it with that icon, you'll get a slightly different display. Ballp.it will appear standalone (without url bar), and will run a little bit faster since it gets its own process and has assets it can pull from locally. I find it more better to browse ballp.it in, personally.


If you're wondering why ballp.it gets the little Chrome icon in the corner and the other ones don't, that's the fight I finally surrendered on. In order for it to score 100% on the PWA checklist Chrome has to be able to assess a starting home page. Because of the way simple machines works (by serving literally everything thru index.php), the scorer gets confused and so it can't figure out an index. This is why ballp.it won't bring up one of those "install this to your phone" screens like, for example partypartypartyparty.party will after repeated visits.

I've literally tried to solve that problem a dozen times, finally deciding just putting up this ballp.it post would hopefully be sufficient.

iOS USERS:
The process is basically the same, but the buttons are different. Click the "Share" button in the center bottom (the square with the arrow going up) and it'll bring up a screen with a shitload of options. One of those options will be "Add To Home Screen".

Darkly:
This is really cool. A couple of minor issues I noticed (on iOS):
- the default name is “The F Plus,” not “Ball pit.”
- the login links in the very top header are treated like external site links, and open outside the app. Login links under the logo work fine though.

And one big issue:
- Switching to another app and switching back causes the app to reload back to the main index. I dunno if this is just an iOS issue.

Ambious:
I think I might still have a Windows Developer account lying around if you wanna publish it to the Windows Store and not have to pay whatever it is they're charging these days for an initial account.

Lemon:
- the default name is “The F Plus,” not “Ball pit.”
Darkly, June 04, 2018, 06:15:55 am
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Oops! Just fixed.

- the login links in the very top header are treated like external site links, and open outside the app. Login links under the logo work fine though.
Darkly, June 04, 2018, 06:15:55 am
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The links at the top? Do you mean the stuff that says like "login" and "new posts"?

- Switching to another app and switching back causes the app to reload back to the main index. I dunno if this is just an iOS issue.
Darkly, June 04, 2018, 06:15:55 am
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Agreed, this shouldn't happen, and doesn't for me. I'm guessing it's an iOS issue. Further, I'm guessing it's an iOS issue that should resolve itself soon. Apple didn't take PWAs seriously until very recently, and I think they have some catching up to do.

Lemon:
I think I might still have a Windows Developer account lying around if you wanna publish it to the Windows Store and not have to pay whatever it is they're charging these days for an initial account.
Ambious, June 04, 2018, 02:06:18 pm
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Uhhhhhhhhhh, okay? What do I do?

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