Published on March 11th, 2023
As the world continues to shift towards mobile usage, web developers are searching for ways to provide seamless and responsive user experiences across multiple devices and platforms.
Traditional web applications and native mobile apps each have their own strengths and weaknesses, but there is a new approach to web development that combines the best of both worlds: Progressive Web Apps (PWAs).
What Are Progressive Web Apps?
Progressive Web Apps are web applications that leverage modern web technologies to offer users an app-like experience on their mobile devices.
They are designed to work across different browsers and platforms and can be installed on users’ home screens just like native apps. However, unlike native apps, PWAs do not need to be downloaded from an app store and can be accessed directly from a browser, making them more accessible and user-friendly.
Key Features Of Progressive Web Apps
PWAs are characterized by several key features that differentiate them from traditional web applications and native apps. These features include:
A PWA is designed to adapt to different screen sizes and resolutions, ensuring that users have a consistent experience across all devices. A PWA’s layout will adjust based on the device’s screen size, ensuring an optimized user experience for every user.
One of the significant advantages of a PWA is that it can be accessed even when there is no internet connection, thanks to caching and data storage mechanisms.
Users can still access the app’s critical features and content even when there is no internet connection, making it an attractive option for users who are on the go.
PWAs can send push notifications to users, just like native apps, providing a more engaging and personalized experience. Notifications are a critical aspect of engaging users and keeping them connected with your app.
App-Like User Interface
PWAs use modern web technologies to provide an immersive and intuitive user interface that feels like a native app. A PWA’s user interface looks and feels like a native app, providing users with a seamless experience.
PWAs are served over HTTPS, providing a secure connection that protects users’ data and privacy. The secure connection is critical, especially for PWAs that store user data, as it ensures that users’ sensitive information is kept safe.
Developing Progressive Web Apps
Designing a successful PWA requires a deep understanding of the user’s needs and preferences, as well as careful consideration of performance and accessibility issues.
When developing a PWA, it’s essential to optimize the app for performance, as users have come to expect fast loading times and smooth transitions. Developers should also ensure that the PWA is accessible to all users, regardless of their ability or device.
Implementing Progressive Web Apps
Implementing PWAs can be done in several ways, including adding a PWA manifest to an existing website, creating a separate PWA from scratch, or using a PWA builder tool.
There are several PWA builders available, such as Appscope, PWA Builder, and Google’s Lighthouse. These tools can help developers build a PWA quickly and easily, without requiring extensive knowledge of web technologies.
To implement a PWA, developers must first create a Web App Manifest, which is a JSON file that describes the PWA’s metadata, such as its name, icons, and theme color.
The Web App Manifest is used by the browser to identify the PWA and provide users with a seamless installation experience.
Advantages of PWA
Suppose you want to build a progressive web application for your business website. Here are all the benefits you will get aside from the money you will be saving as you don’t have to spend on mobile development.
- Storage Efficient: One of the reasons why people prefer PWA over other apps on their mobile phones is that they don’t have to waste their time, data, and storage downloading anything on their phone. According to our source of information, a PWA only takes 1MB of storage on your device. It means you can put any progressive web app on your phone’s home page at the cost of 1MB of data. Plus, it gives you the option to use the saved storage for media files or other apps.
- Store Independence: Users don’t have to go to app stores to download a progressive web application. These apps are available on websites that any user can get by visiting those websites on their phone’s browser. If they want to save the app shortcut on their device, one tap on the link will put a shortcut on the home screen.
- Fast and Flexible: A PWA works offline and online plus it loads on the browser and considering the nature of these apps, the loading time is also extremely fast. The time required to load these apps is what your phone takes when you tap the shortcut and the webpage opens on the browser. Being a web app, PWA is compatible with all operating systems and web browsers.
- Less Internet Traffic and Great Performance: When you get to the source of information, you find out PWA helps save internet traffic. It is because you don’t have to download the app on your device and it runs on a mobile browser which usually requires less internet traffic. Another thing that’s worth mentioning is that these apps perform great even at slow internet connections.
Disadvantages Of PWA
When you look up progressive web applications, you mostly read about what benefits they bring to the business and how good they are for saving money and time. However, with the right source of information, you can also pinpoint some major disadvantages of these web apps. Here are some for reference.
- Complex Distribution: As PWA is store independent, it means no user can open an app store and randomly find these apps when searching for something with similar features. So the users must knowingly go to the website and add the app shortcut to their device.
- Low Performance and Fewer Functions: You are better off building a cross-platform app as it can offer some of the native performance for any specific platform. PWA don’t use or are compatible with all the functions of your device so they offer low performance and fewer features. Takes PWAs on iOS as an example. You can’t run the app in the background, you can’t integrate it with Siri, and iOS doesn’t even allow push notifications on PWA.
- Issues on iOS: If you think these issues are the end of it then you might be wrong because there is plenty of stuff that PWA can’t do on iOS. Let’s start with no Bluetooth access or contactless payments. If a PWA is not used for several days on an iOS device, the system will reset the local storage and the app will download again when the user tries to open it.
Progressive Web Apps are a new approach to web development that combines the best of both traditional web applications and native mobile apps.
PWAs provide users with an immersive and intuitive experience that feels like a native app while remaining accessible and user-friendly.
They offer several advantages, including cross-platform compatibility, easy updating and deployment, and a better user experience. Developing and implementing a successful PWA requires careful consideration of user needs, performance, and accessibility issues, as well as a deep understanding of web technologies and frameworks.
As the world continues to shift towards mobile usage, PWAs offer an attractive option for businesses and organizations looking to reach a wider audience and provide a seamless user experience across multiple devices and platforms.