WebApps are a special type of applications. They are not fully-fledged programs on the desktop like your image editor or multimedia player, but instead, they are just websites contained in a window.
Many websites like WhatsApp, Messenger or Office 365 are usually opened by users all the day. They want to access them quickly at anytime, and writing the URL of the website each time or searching for it on Google is a huge waste of time.
That’s why the idea of WebApps came into life; a standalone window in the applications menu of your system that instantly opens the desired website whenever you just click it. You can leave this window opened all the day if you wish.
In this quick tutorial, we will see how we can install WebApps easily on Linux without much hassle.
WebApp Manager Installation
There are many different ways to install WebApps on Linux, but we will use a special program for that, called “WebApp Manager”
“WebApp Manager” is a simple application for creating and managing webapps. It was developed by the Linux Mint team for their own distribution.
Luckily, it can be installed on other Linux distributions as well.
WebApp Manager on Debian / Ubuntu
For Debian or Ubuntu, or Linux distributions which are based on them, you can simply download WebApp Manager as a DEB package and install it.
You can do that by opening this page from the Linux Mint repository, and simply click the “
all” link to the most recent version (the version with the highest number, you can choose any file).
After you have downloaded the
DEB file, you can install it using the following command from the terminal:
sudo dpkg -i <path_to_deb_file>
Now, we need to install some additional dependencies for the program to work. Luckily, we can just run the following command to install them all:
sudo apt -f install
And then, you will find the WebApp Manager program available in your applications menu.
Note: If you are on Ubuntu 22.04, then you need to install any other web browser other than the default Firefox browser which is contained inside a Snap. This is because WebApp Manager won’t be able to detect your browser if it is isolated inside a container like Snap, and hence, you won’t be able to create WebApps.
WebApp Manager on Fedora
You can install the program from the following unofficial Copr repository, at your own responsibility.
To do that, run the following commands:
sudo dnf copr enable refi64/webapp-manager
sudo dnf install webapp-manager
WebApp Manager on Arch Linux
The software is also available for Arch users from the AUR repository (also unofficial source). You need to enable it first on your system and then install the program from the previous link.
This package corresponds to the Git version, meaning that you will instantly get new updates for the software whenever they are released by the Linux Mint team. Arch gang rise!
Adding WebApps on Linux using WebApp Manager
Search for “WebApp Manager” in your applications menu and launch it to open the following window:
Click on the
+ button to add a new webapp, and then enter the name of the webapp you want along with the URL address of the website you want to turn into a webapp. You can also choose which browser to use for the webapp:
After you click
OK, you will see that the webapp has been created:
You can now launch your new webapp from the applications menu or add it to your favorite applications, just like any other normal desktop program:
If you open it, you will see that the website you entered is directly opened for you:
Using WebApp Manager is the best and easiest way to create WebApps on Linux. It is a very simple program that works on most Linux distributions, and can be easily used by anyone to create their WebApps in few clicks.
We also recommend taking a look at the official source code page of the program on GitHub, which includes a helpful FAQ along with some extra information.
Hanny is a computer science & engineering graduate with a master degree, and an open source software developer. He has created a lot of open source programs over the years, and maintains separate online platforms for promoting open source in his local communities.
Hanny is the founder of FOSS Post.
Tested on Ubuntu 22.04 and Web Apps program starts successfully, but “+” button is greyed out.
Maybe problem in Ubuntu 22.04 is that Firefox browser is installed using snap that Web Apps program does not found. Also I don’t have any other browser installed (and I don’t want to install it).
Hmm perhaps you are right. If the only browser you have is isolated in a Snap, then WebApp Manager won’t be able to create webapps.
We will add a note about it to the article.
Thanks for informing.
I use AppImages and the best part is that since I have multiple distributions on my laptop, AppImages make it easy to run, say WhatsApp, on each of them without going through the whole install process.