Microsoft puts away the Catnip: Windows Insiders community app axed due to 'technical limitations'

Pretty much the most exciting thing to come out of Fast Ring Build 19551

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Microsoft ended the week with a fresh build of Windows 10 and, slightly worryingly, the killing of a Progressive Web App (PWA) project "due to some technical limitations."

Pushed to the Fast Ring of the Windows Insider Program, Build 19551 would frankly be a big ol' bag of "meh" if it weren't for the cancelling of Project Catnip.

Making a PWA is hard

The cancellation of Catnip (or CatNip, depending on which description of the doomed project you read) is depressing. The PWA was shown off at company's Build shindig by "Chief Taco Hat Officer" (those crazy, zany people) Jason Howard and was designed to be a one-stop shop for Windows Insider news, build notifications, achievements and so forth.

"And because it's a PWA, it works across platforms and has offline support," trumpeted then-Windows Insider supremo Dona Sarkar.

It would also seem that because it's a PWA there are "technical limitations", meaning "We were not going to be able to offer the experiences we wanted to for Insiders," according to senior program manager Brandon LeBlanc.

One Insider (who wished to remain anonymous) commented to The Register that perhaps the PWA version had simply become too big for some phones to handle. He remarked that while PWA had its limits (and device specifics "can be challenging") Catnip seemed an "eminently suitable" application for the tech.

A cynic might wonder if Microsoft could not get something that looks like little more than a jumped-up dashboard working as a PWA, then perhaps there might be yet another moving of the development goalposts on the way for weary coders. Or maybe the Insider gang has other, more important things upon which to spank resource than a relic from the era of Taco Hats.

Optional updates

Otherwise, the Insider gang is also once again running the experiment (until the oddly specific end date of 5 March) to not automatically download and install drivers categorised as "optional", and lists issues and fixes aplenty, if not eye-catching new features.

Known issues include the ongoing problems with anti-cheat code as well as Narrator and NVDA nasties with Chromium Edge. The cloud recovery option for Reset this PC remains borked, some USB 3.0 devices throw up a Start Code 10 before sulking when plugged in and actually installing new builds is causing some Insiders difficulty.

On the plus side, fixes include stopping Remote Desktop Connection crashing when attempting to connect to multiple sessions and a server-side tweak to deal with the issue causing Narrator Home to crash when selecting the "What's New" button in Narrator Home.

This being a Fast Ring Insider build and therefore preview code, the usual health warnings apply. ®

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