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Create a Progressive Web App with the Angular CLI

You want to make your Angular app installable? Wait no more!

Minko Gechev
Minko Gechev

In this post, you'll learn how to use the Angular command line interface (CLI) to make a Progressive Web App (PWA).

You can find the code sample from this guide on GitHub.

This post assumes you're already familiar with PWAs and their benefits. If you need a refresher, check out the Installable collection.

Create an installable PWA

To make your Angular application a PWA, all you need to do is run a single command:

ng add @angular/pwa

This command will:

  • Create a service worker with a default caching configuration.
  • Create a manifest file, which tells the browser how your app should behave when installed on the user's device.
  • Add a link to the manifest file in index.html.
  • Add the theme-color <meta> tag to index.html.
  • Create app icons in the src/assets directory.

Customize your PWA

The Precaching with the Angular service worker post explains how to configure the Angular service worker. There you can find how to specify which resources you want the service worker to cache and what strategy it should use to do so.

The manifest file of your app lets you specify your app's name, short name, icons, theme color, and other details. Read about the full set of properties you can set on the Add a web app manifest post.

Take a peek at the manifest file generated by the Angular CLI:

{
"name": "manifest-web-dev",
"short_name": "manifest-web-dev",
"theme_color": "#1976d2",
"background_color": "#fafafa",
"display": "standalone",
"scope": "/",
"start_url": "/",
"icons": [
{
"src": "assets/icons/icon-72x72.png",
"sizes": "72x72",
"type": "image/png"
},

{
"src": "assets/icons/icon-512x512.png",
"sizes": "512x512",
"type": "image/png"
}
]
}

You can customize any of these properties by changing the relevant value in manifest.webmanifest.

A PWA references its manifest file with a link element in index.html. Once the browser finds the reference, it'll show the Add to Home screen prompt:

A progressive web app install prompt

Since the ng-add schematics add everything needed to make your app installable, they generate some shortcut icons that are shown once the user adds the app to their desktop:

A progressive web app shortcut icon

Make sure you customize the manifest properties and icons before you deploy your PWA to production!

If you want to change your PWA back to a standard web app, just remove the reference to manifest.webmanifest from index.html.

Conclusion

To make an installable Angular app:

  1. Add @angular/pwa to your project using the Angular CLI.
  2. Edit the options in the manifest.webmanifest file to suit your project.
  3. Update the icons in the src/assets/icons directory to suit your project.
  4. Optionally, edit the theme-color in index.html.
Last updated: Improve article