Microsoft Lists Becomes a Progressive Web App Using Project Nucleus Technology

Microsoft on Monday described its ongoing efforts to turn Microsoft 365 Web applications into progressive Web apps (PWAs).

PWAs are Web sites that use certain Web technologies (such as push notifications, Fetch, Cache API, Web App Manifest and Service Worker). The technologies allow PDAs to work like applications. PWAs have the added benefit of being able to work offline, unlike conventional Web apps.  

The first Microsoft 365 Web app that got turned into a PWA was Microsoft Lists, which added a "fast and offline" capability at the "general availability" commercial-release stage earlier this month. OneDrive cloud storage is another Web app that Microsoft is turning into a PWA.

Microsoft is seeing a near "57% improvement in page interactivity" with PWAs vs. Web apps.

Microsoft credited "Project Nucleus" as enabling the transition of Microsoft Lists into a PWA. Project Nucleus is a client-side technology addition used for fast data retrieval that synchronizes with the cloud when a client reconnects to the Internet.

The caching behavior of Project Nucleus is based on a new component called "Microsoft.SharePoint.exe." It creates the local cache on a device and "acts like a local Web server by pulling and pushing data to and from that local cache," the announcement explained.

Project Nucleus was unveiled during last year's Microsoft Ignite event as a caching solution for PWAs. It originated with the SharePoint team, but was said to be coming to Microsoft Teams as well, and was originally built to optimize the OneDrive cloud storage service. It was described back in 2020 as bringing "intelligence synchronization" to PWAs by Jeff Teper, corporate vice president for Microsoft 365, Teams, OneDrive and SharePoint:

Project nucleus will power the next generation of our Web apps and custom portals. It uses intelligence sync to a database to keep a cache on the client that our web apps use to deliver and leapfrog performance.

In 2019, Microsoft had described a new Office app PWA for Windows 10 systems as an alternative, but it appeared before the debut of Project Nucleus.

Microsoft loves PWAs so much that it began searching them out and adding them to the Microsoft Store a few years back.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.


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