Report: Web Apps on macOS Sonoma 14 Beta on HackerNews


The comments on the Hacker News post about web apps on macOS Sonoma 14 Beta are generally mixed. Some users express excitement about the development, while others voice concerns about potential abuse and the nature of web notifications.

Positive Sentiment

One user named "jessmartin" expressed great excitement about Safari Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) on macOS, calling it "a very good start." They appreciated the fact that credentials in cookies are copied over, links are handled in-app or in the default browser based on their origin, and that web apps run independently of Safari. However, they also mentioned that the FileSystem API is not supported yet, nor are drag-and-drop or LaunchHandler. They believe these features could greatly improve local-first apps​1​.

A user named "kitsunesoba" also showed enthusiasm for the separation of Safari and Web App processes, stating that it's "irritating for Chrome itself to fire up when I launch an installed PWA." They were glad that Apple chose to take a different approach with this​1​.

Negative Sentiment and Concerns

On the other hand, a user named "jmull" strongly disagreed with the idea of letting web apps programmatically trigger the Add to Dock flow. They argued that this would create new ways for websites to annoy users. They did, however, acknowledge that the rest of the article was filled with good ideas​1​.

This sentiment was echoed by "kemayo" who expressed dissatisfaction with "let me send you desktop notifications!" pop-ups​1​.

"BackBlast" suggested that Safari should offer a "don't badger me" option to shut down all page-based prompts and requests. They argued that the feature in question isn't widely abused and that it provides a better user experience than having to navigate obscure menu methods​1​.

A few users discussed how to turn off notification pop-ups in Safari, but also noted that many websites send a JavaScript-based notification which can't be blocked before prompting you for the system one​1​.

"dev_tty01" and "kitsunesoba" criticized websites for attempting to send notifications the first time a user visits. They believe this practice is annoying and likely designed to exploit users who quickly click through prompts​1​.

"etchalon" was against web push notifications as a feature because they believed it would lead to countless push notification pop-ups on the web. They criticized developers who don't consider that features they wouldn't abuse could be misused by others​1​.

"jonhohle" expressed a hope that certain features, such as FileSystem API and LaunchHandler, would not be supported as they fear this would lead to developers building inferior web apps instead of native ones. They argue that these features should be for process isolation for tools that are open all the time and do not have native alternatives​1​.


Overall, the discussion on the post was nuanced, with users expressing both excitement and concern about the new developments in web apps on macOS Sonoma 14 Beta. The main points of contention revolved around the potential for abuse of new features, the intrusive nature of web notifications, and the trade-off between the convenience of web apps and the quality of native apps.


Here is a summary of the discussion:

Some users are excited about the potential of Safari web apps on macOS, seeing it as a step forward for progressive web apps and a possible alternative to Electron apps.

Key benefits highlighted include:

However, some limitations were also noted:

There was debate about whether banners prompting users to install web apps are a good idea, with most agreeing they are annoying and should be avoided.

Some questioned Apple's motives, arguing the support for web apps may be strategically timed to coincide with their visionOS ambitions. Others pointed out that Apple is simply catching up to capabilities that have existed in Chrome and Edge for years.

Overall, the consensus seems to be that these initial Safari web app capabilities represent a step in the right direction, but more support for system APIs, extensions, and features like tabs will be needed for web apps to truly replace Electron apps on macOS.

I lead the Chrome Developer Relations team at Google.

We want people to have the best experience possible on the web without having to install a native app or produce content in a walled garden.

Our team tries to make it easier for developers to build on the web by supporting every Chrome release, creating great content to support developers on, contributing to MDN, helping to improve browser compatibility, and some of the best developer tools like Lighthouse, Workbox, Squoosh to name just a few.