Progressive Web App is one of the most talked topics in past few years. If you are developing a new website then Progressive Web App will be a new and most buzzing word for you. Progressive Web App, usually known as PWA, came into public life in 2015 by Google. The concept of PWA offers to its users an app like experience on the webpage.
The PWA’s concept has become one of the most adopted practice because in the past few years, users have changed their way to visit the websites. In today’s time, almost 60% of users use their mobile to explore the internet. So we need that website which can give an app like experience to the user in their small screen devices. The mobile app sounds like a solution to this problem but not every company can choose this. In this case, PWA comes as a savior.
Here is the brief introduction of Progressive Web Applications.
What is PWA?
As shown by its name, in addition to web features it provides access to mobile hardware giving features of both web and mobile app. It enables the web app to load even when there is no network, sync in the background and allows the web application to function similar to a desktop web page or mobile app.
A website with PWA behaves more like an app. This concept bridges the gap between websites and mobile apps. Alibaba, Flipkart Lite, Snapdeal are just a few examples of PWA. Google envisioned PWA to give the ultimate experience to the shoppers. Apart from offline mode PWA also has following features like Web Push Notification, animated page transitions, splash screens and more.
Let’s explore the need to build a Progressive Web Application.
Why build a Progressive Web App?
Before 2008 websites were not designed to have interaction with users but after 2008 a mobile revolution came in and changed everything. Now, the number of users visiting websites on mobile have increased many folds. Users want smooth transitions between pages, speed, and a better offline experience while exploring any website or app. To offer this amazing experience to users, you definitely need PWA.
Do you know that the use of PWA is increasing even after the availability of a native app. Now you definitely want to know why? The reason behind this is that the user doesn’t want to install any app until unless he needs it regularly. Here are other few reasons that make PWA a necessity.
Native App like Experience
If we compare between app and website then surely the app experience is better and when a website offers you a native app experience than nothing can be better than this. Now you don’t need to submit your application in play store or app store, PWA can provide that same experience to your users. When the user will re-launch the PWA, new updates will be downloaded automatically so no hassle to update the app.
Push Notifications informs the users about the new content on the websites. It empowers the businesses to connect with users in better way and allows the users to re-engage with the website. PWA gives power to publishers and developers to have full control over the execution of Push Notification.
Offline functionality let the application run in offline mode as well. In case of no internet, instead of an error page, you can see a custom offline page. Progressive Web Development (PWD) also allow the visitors to access the page’s catalog in offline mode. Overall this offline functionality increases customer engagement rate.
Home Screen Shortcut
When a user visits your site for a few times then the browser will suggest the user to add it as a shortcut on his home screen. Due to W3C web app manifest and service worker registration scope, search engines identify PWA as an application, and that’s why the browser prompts to add the website to the home screen.
Technical Components of PWA
Here are a few components that support the Progressive Web Application feature.
The Web App Manifest
The Web app manifest gives native app interface appearance to progressive. Its a simple JSON file containing information: name, description, icons for different device resolution, display mode, theme color of the application, etc. Manifest empowers the developer to control the display and launch of the app.
Service Worker performs all its activities on the client side so it’s a must to have a secure protocol; HTTP. It establishes your web application as trusted.
The Application Shell Model
The application shell model consists the design elements that are required by the app to run in absence of internet connection. PWAs are architected around an application shell. If Application Shell is cached properly by service worker then it allows the user to get fast and meaningful pixels on the screen in absence of a network.
The compatibility of PWA may differ from one browser to another. Here is the Service Worker compatibility status of PWA for different browsers.
Chrome: 40 Safari: 1 Firefox: 44 Edge: 17
Pros of PWA
If you are developing a website then you should take the advantages of PWA. Here are the pros of PWA that can make your website better.
Affordable: A Single progressive app can work effectively on Android and iOS so there is no need to develop different applications for different OS. Since same PWA works on many platforms hence the cost becomes less.
Progressive Enhancement: It makes that web apps to work speedily that support it but doesn’t break the functionality of those apps that does not support PWD.
Less Friction: For PWA no installation is required so customers are more likely to love it. It downloads quickly without following any process.
Easy Update: PWA will not take the permission from the user to update itself. It gets updated automatically without sending any annoying notifications to users.
Push Notification: Push notification is the batch of honor for PWAs. These notifications give app related information to users.
Cons of PWA
Here are a few cons of PWAs.
Limited Performance: For computation heavy operations, PWA shows a limited performance. However, this is being improved by the WebAssembly.
New Technology: PWA is still a new technology so not all browsers support it.
Traffic Loss: Use of PWA may lead to loss of that traffic that search for the app on App store or Play store, that is a change we can observe in long-run.
The Bottom Line
In this article, we have introduced you to PWA, it’s substantial features, it’s technical components and the need of building PWA. We will explore more on PWA in our future posts. Stay tuned with us.