Progressive Web Apps: the future of application development.

Oct 10, 2022 |
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When it comes to marketing an application, time to market and cost efficiency are two of the most important factors. Progressive Web Apps provide you with the opportunity to create user-friendly applications that are built using just HTML, CSS and JavaScript without the hassle of publishing them in an app store.

Progressive Web Applications provide a native-like user experience instantly accessible within the browser. It takes the installation step away resulting in more of an instant experience of using the app.

But how do you know if PWA is the right way to go for your app idea? The answer is by understanding the ins and outs of how PWA works and whom it is for. So without further ado, let’s dive in!

What is PWA?

PWA or Progressive Web Apps stands for a structure of applications that provides the immersive experience of a native app within a web browser. PWAs do not require any kind of installation. A user can instantly load and use it from their browser just by clicking on or entering a web address. The purpose of these applications is to reduce the time and effort a user needs to access their intended platforms.

How does it compare to other technologies?

When it comes to app development, we usually think of native or cross-platform apps. Let’s look at how PWA compares to these forms of applications.

Native apps are specifically designed to work on one type of device. Which means, they are tailored to work with those specified software and hardware. This is particularly helpful if your app is to use the device’s technologies such as the microphone or the GPS tracker resulting in an immersive user experience. Cross-platform apps, on the other hand, are deployed to work across all types of devices. It’s convenient in easily reaching a larger demographic.

PWAs are able to deliver the user experience of native apps with the convenience of web apps. These apps can be used in any device as they are web based while providing as enhanced of a functionality as native applications.

Native apps can be downloaded from the App Store on iOS and Google Play Store on Android devices. Some examples might be the Calendar, Email and Gallery apps on one’s mobile device.
Unlike native mobile apps, PWAs do not need to be distributed using an app store. Users can find these apps on the web, interact with them in their browser and save them on the home screen as a shortcut for quick access. Some of our favorite apps such as Facebook, Spotify etc. have been using this method of app development and more companies are following those footsteps.

Native apps are built using Swift for iOS devices and Java or Kotlin for Android devices. Cross-platform apps are mostly built using React Native. PWAs, on the other hand, can be built using just HTML, CSS and JavaScript.

However, PWA does have its downsides too. Native apps require downloading from a distributor. But once downloaded, they provide an incomparable user experience and security. Although PWAs are closer to this UX than cross platform apps, they are not the same. They do not offer the same functionalities or features and often are unable to use a device’s technologies as efficiently as native apps.

For example, PWAs do not support push notifications on iOS devices along with other native features in various devices. But the world of progressive web apps is constantly developing and these issues can be expected to be solved in the near future.

What are the benefits of using a PWA?

Progressive Web Apps come with various benefits – both from technical and business standpoints. Let us discuss just a handful here.

No downloads required

PWAs work right in the browser. They are even able to work offline if the user saves them to their device’s home page. There is no need to go through a third party distributor such as Google Play Store or App Store. And this is the greatest advantage of developing a Progressive Web App.

Works on any device

As PWAs are completely web based and work directly from the browser, any device that has access to the web is able to use it. This results in accessibility of a larger user demographic.

Native-like user experience

Native applications do provide the best user experience and interface. But their limitation comes from their inability to work cross-platform. Progressive Web Apps give users the best of both worlds. They are designed to provide almost the same functionality and experience as native apps while working on any device users own.

Faster loading and greater accessibility

PWAs are usually very lightweight and responsive. They are quick to use as no download or installment is required. Moreover, they are often faster to load than regular websites because of Client-Side Rendering technology.

Works offline

The ‘Progressive’ in PWA represents their ability to work offline. This functionality requires a service worker that connects a browser to the network. These service workers run separately from the main JavaScript code on the website.

What it means for your business that you do not lose conversions even offline. They can continue browsing your web app and decide to make purchases as they go.

SEO-friendly

Unlike native apps, PWAs are housed within the search engines. Moreover, the higher rendering speed that comes with a PWA is a contributing factor of where your page ranks in search results. This results in a higher rank in Google and other search engines making PWA an SEO dream-come-true!

Affordable to build

PWAs have a more affordable development process. They are not nearly as complex as native app development resulting in a lower development cost.

Native apps are developed separately for different platforms meaning you will need to hire more resources for those different skill sets. But PWA can be developed with nothing but HTML5, JS and CSS providing a simpler and less costly development experience.

There is no doubt that Progressive Web Apps are the future of app development. Do you want to future-proof your app idea? Let’s work together!

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