[Technology] "Add to Home Screen" broken by PWA's "start_url"


This has been driving me mad.  At some point, I was increasingly unable to add direct links to web pages on my home screen on my phone.  E.g. to specific Twitter accounts, or to Instagram's Chat page.  I would go through the usual steps of visiting the specific page, going to the menu and choosing "Zum Startbildschirm zufügen" (aka. "Add to Home Screen"), but the shortcut would only go to the main page for the site instead, twitter.com or instagram.com, making it somewhat useless.

Today I tried to investigate the problem:


The problem is that these sites are acting as Progressive Web Application (PWA).  In their Manifest file, they can specify a value "start_url", which then overrides the actual URL I'm trying when adding to my home screen.  

It's pretty infuriating and undermines my control over my device and experience, and impairs me from accomplishing my goals.

The site lists some workarounds.  One of them is to use 3rd party apps to create the short-cut.  One of my qualms with 3rd party apps on Linux is that so many request excess permissions beyond what they need for their purpose, and despite having some limited control over that, it's rarely enough to feel safe. :\

Solution I'm Using

  if (meta=document.querySelector('meta[name="mobile-web-app-capable"]')) {
  if (mani=document.querySelector('link[rel="manifest"]')) {

The user that suggested this, "user185038",  notes that Chrome seems to strip "javascript:" away if you just copy and paste that in, so they paste something slightly different (javascriptx:) for that protocol bit, and then just edit to be what's intended.

And it worked!

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