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Packaged Apps To Use Native Window Theming on Windows, Mac


Packaged Apps are about to take another step towards looking like native system apps on Windows and Mac. 

A flag to enable native system window borders for Packaged Apps, like CIRC, is being tested on the latest Chrome dev and Canary builds on Windows and OS X.

Packaged Apps are able to do things traditional web applications can’t thanks, such as accessing hardware and making use of privileged APIs.

At present Packaged Applications run with a white window border. It’s not a bad look, particularly on Chrome OS.  But Google’s Matt Giuca says developers have been asking for ‘Chrome apps to look more like native apps’.

For now the flag to enable native window borders is only available on Chrome Dev and Canary builds on Windows, though Giuca says that it will be heading to Mac, too.

Packaged apps on Linux already use native system theming.

  • Yvan Philogène

    Good to see that Google is succeeding with Chrome Runtime where Sun failed with Java Runtime. The idea was pretty the same though, and technology has evolved.

    • I hate how everyone says Java is a failure. It is a bit insecure, and sometimes slow, but is a major employment quality, because it works on Windows, Mac, and Linux all the same using Swing APIs. Java is still relevant, because Android uses it primarily, too.

      • Yvan Philogène

        Don’t get me wrong. I was a big fan of Java. However, let’s admit it: Where are the Jafa FX apps? Where is the Java Store? Yes, Java still lives through a lot of devices and maybe some enterprise have built amazing apps with it. At some point, they were not far from building an amazing application platform for both mobile and desktop devices, but it looks like Google is now to achieve what Sun has not managed to do before being sold to Oracle.

        • True, but given that you can make relatively powerful apps, and the Slick2D library makes it a good platform for non-technically-advanced games (3D). It’s great that Google are making a similar platform, using web technologies that were not possible when Java was created. At one time, it was one of the most popular sources for rich web content in applets.

  • Inquizitor

    Not a fan. If anything, it makes them look more like web apps run inside of Chrome, at least on Windows. It’s a bad look, definitely not native-looking. At least the white border makes them look like some kind of cool, modern Windows 8 apps or at least Adobe AIR-like apps.

    • I don’t see how them looking like Windows 8 or Adobe AIR is a good thing :P

      • Inquizitor

        It looks more native and fitting than to look like one of those crappy “chrome apps” from 2009.

  • mickeyjaydee

    I have tried both 29.0.1530.4 dev & 29.0.1531.0 canary but neither will allow this flag to be enabled. Unavailable on my platform Windows only?

  • If this “look” becomes standard in the stable builds of Chrome; I hope they add a Flag to remove the native-system-border look. I personally like the Chrome Border style. Specially on apps like Hangouts, and Keep.