Missed the action at this year's Chrome Dev Summit? Catch up with our playlist on YouTube. Watch now.

Debug Progressive Web Apps

Use the Application panel to inspect, modify, and debug web app manifests, service workers, and service worker caches.

Related Guides:

This guide only discusses the Progressive Web App features of the Application panel. If you're looking for help on the other panes, check out the last section of this guide, Other Application panel guides.

TL;DR

  • Use the App Manifest pane to inspect your web app manifest and trigger Add to Homescreen events.
  • Use the Service Worker pane for a whole range of service-worker-related tasks, like unregistering or updating a service, emulating push events, going offline, or stopping a service worker.
  • View your service worker cache from the Cache Storage pane.
  • Unregister a service worker and clear all storage and caches with a single button click from the Clear Storage pane.

Web app manifest

If you want your users to be able to add your app to their mobile homescreens, you need a web app manifest. The manifest defines how the app appears on the homescreen, where to direct the user when launching from homescreen, and what the app looks like on launch.

Related Guides:

Once you've got your manifest set up, you can use the Manifest pane of the Application panel to inspect it.

manifest pane

  • To look at the manifest source, click the link below App Manifest label (https://airhorner.com/manifest.json in the screenshot above).
  • Press the Add to homescreen button to simulate an Add to Homescreen event. Check out the next section for more information.
  • The Identity and Presentation sections just display fields from the manifest source in a more user-friendly display.
  • The Icons section displays every icon that you've specified.

Simulate Add to Homescreen events

A web app can only be added to a homescreen when the site is visited at least twice, with at least five minutes between visits. While developing or debugging your Add to Homescreen workflow, this criteria can be inconvenient. The Add to homescreen button on the App Manifest pane lets you simulate Add to Homescreen events whenever you want.

You can test out this feature with the Google I/O 2016 progressive web app, which has proper support for Add to Homescreen. Clicking on Add to Homescreen while the app is open prompts Chrome to display the "add this site to your shelf" banner, which is the desktop equivalent of the "add to homescreen" banner for mobile devices.

add to desktop shelf

Tip: Keep the Console drawer open while simulating Add to Homescreen events. The Console tells you if your manifest has any issues and logs other information about the Add to Homescreen lifecycle.

The Add to Homescreen feature cannot yet simulate the workflow for mobile devices. Notice how the "add to shelf" prompt was triggered in the screenshot above, even though DevTools is in Device Mode. However, if you can successfully add your app to your desktop shelf, then it'll work for mobile, too.

If you want to test out the genuine mobile experience, you can connect a real mobile device to DevTools via remote debugging, and then click the Add to Homescreen button (on DevTools) to trigger the "add to homescreen" prompt on the connected mobile device.

Service workers

Service workers are a fundamental technology in the future web platform. They are scripts that the browser runs in the background, separate from a web page. These scripts enable you to access features that don't need a web page or user interaction, like push notifications, background sync, and offline experiences.

Related Guides:

The Service Workers pane in the Application panel is the main place in DevTools to inspect and debug service workers.

service worker pane

  • If a service worker is installed to the currently open page, then you'll see it listed on this pane. For example, in the screenshot above there's a service worker installed for the scope of https://events.google.com/io2016/.
  • The Offline checkbox puts DevTools into offline mode. This is equivalent to the offline mode available from the Network panel, or the Go offline option in the Command Menu.
  • The Update on reload checkbox forces the service worker to update on every page load.
  • The Bypass for network checkbox bypasses the service worker and forces the browser to go to the network for requested resources.
  • The Update button performs a one-time update of the specified service worker.
  • The Push button emulates a push notification without a payload (also known as a tickle).
  • The Sync button emulates a background sync event.
  • The Unregister button unregisters the specified service worker. Check out Clear storage for a way to unregister a service worker and wipe storage and caches with a single button click.
  • The Source line tells you when the currently running service worker was installed. The link is the name of the service worker's source file. Clicking on the link sends you to the service worker's source.
  • The Status line tells you the status of the service worker. The number on this line (#1 in the screenshot above) indicates how many times the service worker has been updated. If you enable the update on reload checkbox you'll notice that the number increments on every page load. Next to the status you'll see a start button (if the service worker is stopped) or a stop button (if the service worker is running). Service workers are designed to be stopped and started by the browser at any time. Explicitly stopping your service worker using the stop button can simulate that. Stopping your service worker is a great way to test how your code behaves when the service worker starts back up again. It frequently reveals bugs due to faulty assumptions about persistent global state.
  • The Clients line tells you the origin that the service worker is scoped to. The focus button is mostly useful when you've enabled the show all checkbox. When that checkbox is enabled, all registered service workers are listed. If you click on the focus button next to a service worker that is running in a different tab, Chrome focuses on that tab.

If the service worker causes any errors, a new label called Errors shows up.

service worker with errors

Service worker caches

The Cache Storage pane provides a read-only list of resources that have been cached using the (service worker) Cache API.

service worker cache pane

Note that the first time you open a cache and add a resource to it, DevTools might not detect the change. Reload the page and you should see the cache.

If you've got two or more caches open, you'll see them listed below the Cache Storage dropdown.

multiple service worker caches

Clear storage

The Clear Storage pane is a very useful feature when developing progressive web apps. This pane lets you unregister service workers and clear all caches and storage with a single button click. Check out the section below to learn more.

Related Guides:

Other Application panel guides

Check out the guides below for more help on the other panes of the Application panel.

Related Guides: