Progressive Web Apps: Bringing the Power of Native Apps to Web
Unless you have been living under a rock, by now you must have heard the term “Progressive Web App” bandied about on social media platforms and in the tech world. PWA is a hot topic at the moment because it’s continuously bridging the gap between web and native apps.
Have you ever stumbled upon an “Add to Home Screen” button when browsing a website? When you click that banner, a shortcut of that web app (or site) gets added to the home screen of your mobile or desktop device. When a “Progressive Web App” installs itself in the background, it pins a shortcut to your launcher and runs like any other installed app. The main characteristic which separates it from native or web apps is that there’s no need to download a PWA from an app store or any third-party platforms.
What is a Progressive Web App?
Simply put, PWA is a term referring to a couple of features one can add to any web page or web application. Such apps live on the device and run independently in the web browser but function more progressively like a native app to deliver consumers an enhanced user experience regardless of the network status and device. Progressive Web Apps combine the features of native apps with the convenience of the browser so they can run in a secure container that is accessible to everyone on the web.
PWAs over Traditional, Native Apps
According to comScore’s report, native applications alone constitute a majority of all digital media time consumption with 87 percent, whereas mobile web accounts only for 13 percent. Native apps encapsulate various device-specific features and factors that drive users to spend more time in native apps compared to mobile web, including push notifications, home screen icons, Access to Build-in features like camera or GPS, etc. There’s no denying that native apps deliver the finest, enriched user experience. But they are prone to be an extortionate proposition to a developer as well as restricted to some devices due to the high barriers to adoption.
Not to mention, advertising your native app to users first, tempting them to install and use it, and generating substantial buy-in from them means surviving a brutal funnel. Sitting between all these unpleasant options is the newest mobile app development solution: the PWA.
The PWA brings the best benefits of native apps to the mobile browser experience while mitigating their disadvantages.
Various studies demonstrate that around 20 percent of mobile users liberate themselves from an app during every step of this cycle. It’s not unusual for programmers to spend bills on banner prompts, only to reveal the fact that 16 percent of them launched their apps.
Top 4 Benefits of Progressive Web Apps
Here are some advantages of creating a Progressive Web App (PWA) rather than developing a fully-functional web or android app:
1) Offline Capabilities
PWAs are not reliant on the user’s internet connection quality like traditional sites are. A progressive web app employ Service Workers that act as a proxy to intercept network requests and modify the response, thereby allowing the app to work in uncertain network conditions, or even in offline mode!
2) Fast load times
With the help of service workers, developers can create PWAs that load in an instant and respond quickly to user interactions, regardless of whether the customer has an unreliable, flaky 2-G network, a fast internet speed, or even no connection at all.
3) Push notifications
One key advantage of the progressive web app is the ease of sending push notifications to re-engage users with new content and updates. Push notifications are conveyed to a device using two APIs: the Notifications API and the Web Push API. The Notifications API enables the app to generate as well as display push notifications to customers, while the Push API delivers messages directly from a server to app (even if the app is not active) via a service worker.
Unlike other apps, such as native, web, or hybrid, PWAs are not limited to any particular platform. By this means, there’s no need to build separate versions of the application for distinct platforms. Progressive web apps utilize standardized-technologies, such as fluid grids and media queries, to make sure that their UIs are responsive and will fit any device.