Convert websites to desktop apps


Imagine this situation. You are working on a certain topic and you have over twenty tabs open in your web browser, mostly related to work.

Some of these tabs are for YouTube or other music streaming website that you are listening to.

You have completed the work on the subject and close the browser. Your intention was to close all work-related tabs, but this also closed the tabs you were using for listening to music or other activities.

Now you will need to log back into those websites and find the track you were listening to or what you were doing.

Frustrating, isn’t it? Linux Mint understands your pain and has an upcoming project to help you with such a scenario.

Linux Mint Web Application Manager

In one recent post, the Linux Mint team revealed that they are working on a new tool called Web App Manager.

The Web App Manager tool will let you launch your favorite websites and make them work in their own window as if they were desktop apps.

When adding a website as a web application, you can give it a custom name and icon. You can also assign it a different category. It will help you find this app in the menu.

You can also specify in which web browser you want to open the web application. An option to turn on / off the navigation bar is also available.

Add a web application in Linux Mint
Adding a web application in Linux Mint

Suppose you add YouTube as a web app:

Web applications in Linux Mint
Web applications in Linux Mint

If you run this YouTube web app, YouTube will now run in its own window and in your browser of choice.

Youtube Linux Mint web application
YouTube web app

The web app has most of the features you see in a typical desktop app. You can use it in the Alt + Tab selector:

Web application alt tab selector
Web application in Alt Tab Switcher

You can even pin the web app to the panel / taskbar for quick access.

YouTube web app added to panel

The Web App Manager is currently in beta, but its use is fairly stable. It is not yet ready to be translated and that is why it is not made public.

If you are using Linux Mint and want to try Web App Manager, you can download the DEB file for the beta version of this app from the link below:

Benefits of web applications

Some readers have asked about the advantages of this web application manager over other similar features already available in Chrome and some other web browsers. Allow me to expand on this topic.

  • You can use a specific part of the URL ( ​​instead of as an application.
  • The ability to add custom icons comes in handy for websites without a clear fevicon.
  • You can use a lightweight browser without any extensions to open the web application instead of the classic web browser like Chrome / Chromium. It should be faster.
  • Your web application is integrated into the application menu. You can search for it like any other app.

Web apps aren’t new to the Linux desktop

This is not something revolutionary from Linux Mint. Web applications have been on the scene for almost a decade now.

If you remember, Ubuntu added web application functionality to its Unity desktop back in 2013-14.

The lightweight Linux distribution PeppermintOS lists ICE (tool for web applications) as its main feature since 2010. In fact, Linux Mint’s web application manager is based on the Peppermint operating system. ICE.

Personally, I like the functionality of web applications. It has its uses.

What do you think of web applications in Linux Mint? Is this something you can’t wait to use? Share your views in the comments section.


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