I’m writing this as a short commentary on Stuart Langridge’s post The Importance of URLs which you should read (he’s surprisingly clever, although he looks like the antichrist in that lewd hat).
I approve of the Lighthouse team’s idea that you don’t qualify as an add-to-home-screen-able app if you want a URL bar
Opera’s implementation of Progressive Web Apps differs from Chrome’s here (we only take the content layer of Chromium; we implement all the UI ourselves, precisely so we can do our own thing). Regardless of whether the developer has chosen
display: standalone or
display: fullscreen in order to hide the URL bar, Opera will display it if the app is served over HTTP because we think that the user should know exactly where she is if the app is served over an insecure connection. Similarly, if the user follows a link from your app that goes outside its domain, Opera spawns a new tab and forces
display: browser so the URL bar is shown.
But I take Jeremy Keith’s point:
I want people to be able to copy URLs. I want people to be able to hack URLs. I’m not ashamed of my URLs …I’m downright proud.
One of the superpowers of the Web is URLs, and fullscreen progressive web apps hide them (deliberately). After our last PWA meeting with the Chrome team in early February, I was talking about just this with Andreas Bovens, the PM for Opera for Android. We mused about some mechanism (a new gesture?) that would allow the user to see and copy (if they want) the URL of the current page. I’ve already heard of examples when developers are making their own “share this” buttons — and devs re-implementing browser functionality is often a klaxon signalling something is missing from the platform.
When I mentioned our musings on Twitter this morning, Alex Russell said “we’ve been discussing the same.” It is, as Chrome chappie Owen Campbell-Moore said “a difficult UX problem indeed”, which is one reason that Andreas and I parked our discussion. One of Andreas’ ideas is long press on the current page, and then get an option to copy/share the URL of the page you’re currently viewing (this means that a long press is not available as an action for site owners to use on their sites. Probably not a big deal?)
What do you think? How can we best allow the user to see the current URL in a discoverable way?