FME Server Apps: Add to Home Screen

Liz Sanderson
Liz Sanderson
  • Updated

FME Version

  • FME 2020.0

Introduction

In the context of mobile devices and web browsing, the feature “Add to Home Screen” – also referred to as “A2HS” – provides a means for users to quickly access their favourite websites. Instead of opening your preferred web browsing app on your mobile device (e.g. Chrome, Safari, Firefox, etc) and then navigating to your favourite website via bookmarks or manually typing in the URL, you can simply tap on an icon (you guessed it – directly from your “Home Screen”) to instantly navigate to that favourite website of yours.

Some websites are also now taking advantage of “Progressive Web Apps” (PWAs). This allows for a user to have an “app-like experience” when engaging with a website. And – drum roll – for FME Server 2020.0, we have this baked into the Server Apps feature. This means that when you load an FME Server App hosted from an installation of FME Server 2020.0 or newer, we can now start to add more features that provide that “app-like experience” for supported devices and browsers.

For more information and a high-level overview of what PWAs are, this article does a really good job of explaining: Seriously though. What is a progressive web app?

 

How Do I Add an FME Server App to the Home Screen?

Depending on whether you have accessed an FME Server App from your Android or iOS device, your experience may vary. As this is a newer technology, even version matters! You will notice that some devices can automatically prompt a user to add a website to the Home Screen, while others will require the user to access the “Add to Home Screen” function similar to adding a bookmark.

 

fme-server-app-android-a2hs.png

[Image of an Android Device with the "Add to Home Screen" Prompt for an FME Server App]

 

If you would like to read more about “Add to Home Screen” there is a great article posted to MDN Web Docs that goes into much more detail.

 

Why Should I Add an FME Server App to the Home Screen?

Adding an FME Server App to the Home Screen provides users with a quick way to access their workflows. You can imagine that if you have created an FME Server App for data collection, you would be able to “install” this to devices and separate the fact that it’s just a website operating in the background. Users will have the experience of using an app on their device – for example, one of the quickest things to note is that the URL bar is not displayed.


As mentioned above, FME Server Apps are built as Progressive Web Apps in FME Server 2020.0 and newer. That means we have unlocked access to lots of features that PWAs can provide! While we have kept the implementation very simple for now, we are observing usage and collecting feedback – including feature requests – from our customers.

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