We’ve created a prototype of a progressive web app for browsing F-Droid repositories. It’s built with Flutter, which is really great for working in rapid development cycles. It also allows us to make it look and feel like a modern Android app. As a trade-off the web-app is pretty big in size (~ 10 MB). So depending on your internet connection speed loading it for the first time might take a while. Flutter is also notorious for trying to connect to Google servers, and we couldn’t figure out how to make the app GDPR compliant just yet.
Since it’s a just an early prototype, it’s nowhere near as complete as our official Android app. Right now it only has some of the most basic features: Displaying basic repository informations; Providing a link/QR-code for adding the repository to your F-Droid client; Browsing and searching for apps; Displaying app details and app downloads.
F-Droid repositories themselves are deployed like web-sites. So naturally it’s possible to deploy this web-app into any F-Droid repository and instantly make it browse-able on the web. We’re considering adding an option for deploying it automatically to our tools for managing F-Droid repositories.
The tooling that runs the F-Droid community can easily be applied to other platforms like iOS. Our team came up with an experimental solution for shipping iOS apps using F-Droid repositories. So our new PWA opens up an opportunity to explore how F-Droid could offer a tiny taste of freedom to iOS users. While we hope to aid the expansion of free software everywhere, even on proprietary platforms like iOS, F-Droid will only ship on platforms that can be free software, like Android.