Earlier this month, the indie developers Feross Aboukhadijeh and John Hiesey launched a new app called Wormhole, which lets users quickly share large, encrypted files with just a link. But unlike most new mobile apps, Wormhole doesn’t show up in Apple’s App Store or the Google Play Store.
Instead, Aboukhadijeh and Hiesey released their app exclusively on the web. You can run Wormhole in any browser, and if you use the “Add to Home Screen” function in Safari for iOS or Chrome for Android, the site becomes indistinguishable from a native app.
Aboukhadijeh says that Wormhole has a long list of reasons for skipping mobile app stores, including the ease of developing for the web and the lack of platform gatekeepers to worry about. But for him, targeting the web is also just a matter of principle.
“We want to be an example of what a modern, fast web app can do,” he says. “And we want to blow a few minds while we’re at it.”