The competitiveness in the mobile and web app development industry is scaling to higher destinations, thereby setting up new standards. It has become imperative for the app developers to offer a seamless experience to the end-users where navigating apps becomes fun and a piece of cake. And certainly, the Progressive Web Apps (PWA) has that capability to match the current trends prevailing in the web app development industry.
According to a report, users now spend 85% of their time on their smartphones and other advanced gadgets. They are in a hunt for the apps, which can comprehensively suffice their purpose and at the same time is fast as well as responsive.
What are Progressive Web Apps
One must have to give credit to Frances Berriman and engineer Alex Russell for introducing the progressive web apps. As such, the progressive web apps can be defined as web applications or websites that provide the feeling and familiarity of the native apps and also offers the features that most modern browser such as Chrome to provide with the benefit of mobile experience.
You can host the progressive web apps on the user’s server and there is no need to issue an update to the Play or App Store before upgrading it. They can be operated in the offline mode and also offer the benefit of quick loading and push notifications.
The Three Components of PWA
The progressive web app basically comprises three elements, which is also the core of its functionality. It includes:
• A service worker
• An app shell
• An app manifest
A Service Worker
The Service Worker can rightly be said as the backbone of the progressive web apps. It is the major technology that fuels the progressive apps and is known for its robustness and power. The progressive apps are able to offer offline navigation and content caching, push notifications and updating content facility due to the presence of the service worker.
The App Shell is another important component of the progressive web apps and is a design concept, which initially allows the loading of the app shell before the content. It caches the design and the content on separate notes and helps in improving the performance of the app.
Well, the App Manifest is a wonderful tool that allows the installation of the app from the browser and then pins it into the device’s home screen, similar to what we do on your personal computers and laptops. You can create a shortcut for any web app and install it on the home screen with the support of a native install banner.
In order to specify the fact that the web app can be installed as an app, the developers write a manifest.json file and it is connected to the main HTML page. Android has adopted the progressive apps and offering comprehensive support in this regard. But on the other the iOS is still on its way to adopt the progressive apps, the reason being the stern security factor.
The Benefits of the Progressive Web Apps
Once we have discussed the definition and the major components of the progressive web apps, let’s now focus on what are the key benefits of PWA.
PWA supports the Offline Mode as Well
One of the main advantages of Progressive Web Apps is that it supports the browsing even if there is no or very limited internet connection. This is something which you will not find in the case of websites.
Thus, it ensures more and more user engagement and also allows you to save the information automatically. The offline page contains a logo, some info, and few advanced features. For instance, people can view the product list displayed on the e-commerce app.
Makes Use of Low Data
The PWAs also make use of low internet data as compared to the native apps. It has been seen that you can save a lot of monthly data, thus reducing your bill on internet connection.
Push notifications are a great asset tool for mobile marketing today helping to bring more target customers on the board. And the progressive web apps are blessed to have this vital weapon where you can send specific messages in bulk related to discount offers, rewards, and coupons. This helps in boosting the sales to higher up the order.
Downloads are awesomely Fast
Unlike the native apps, the users don’t have to go to the Play Store to download the progressive web apps. And they also do not take much time to get downloaded. They can be directly downloaded onto the device. It has its own icons on the device.
No Need for App Submission
The developers will feel relieved to hear the fact that with progressive web apps they don’t need to submit the app into the Google Play Store or App Store. This reduces their workload and also tends to save a lot of time and money.
Plus, they also do not need any approval or consent to update the app and can push for it at regular intervals. The updates are automatically downloaded when the app is re-launched.
Best Option if Budget is less
The Progressive Web Apps can be a viable option for any business enterprise or a startup, which is having a tight or low budget estimate. The cost of developing PWA is much lower than the native apps.
As such the cost estimate of developing a native app would be around $25k-$80k, whereas the PWA costs around a fraction of that i.e. $6k to $10k. Moreover, it also offers good overall results for the business with the best ROI.
Shows Positive SEO Results
Since the PWA has great loading speed, it tends to boost the accessibility and searching power of the app. It offers a great overall user experience, adding to the success story of your business. It is a positive indication for marketing strategy.
Some other Benefits
- The progressive web apps just act like websites providing the same features and functionalities including accessing the database.
- They are known to deliver improved performance.
The Cons of Progressive Web Apps
- The PWA does not get adequate support from Apple
- PWAs aren’t a panacea.
The Progressive Web App Features
1. Generally speaking, the essential features of the progressive web apps have already been discussed above when we are outlining its benefits. And more so, the features also remain the same such as no app submission, push notifications, faster loading time, and SEO benefits, reduce the cost of development and so on.
2. In addition to these, the PWAs are known for their responsiveness as they can fit into any shape such as desktop, mobile, tablet.
3. They can work with any browser the user chooses due to the fact that they are created with progressive enhancement as a core tenet.
4. You don’t have to think much from the security point of view. They are highly secured with the HTTPS.
The Popular Clientele
It can boast of having some of the most prestigious clientele including Alibaba, Flipkart, Twitter, Ola, Pinterest, OLX, Bookmyshow and much more.
How to create a Progressive Web App
1. In the first instance, you have to do the test and check if your site is working as PWA. For this you can use a chrome extension; for instance, the Lighthouse. After the installation, you have to click on the Lighthouse icon in the top right of the browser to get an access to the report.
2. In the second step, you are required to create an icon for the site that will be on the home screen.
3. Next is the registration with the service worker.
4. The service worker
5. Next is building a sw.js and adding index.html cache
6. You also have to develop a manifest file, which would be supporting add home screen feature.
The Progressive Web Apps is getting a good positive response from the web and mobile app development Industry. Despite its drawbacks, it is not getting support from Apple iOS, it has a number of advantages and features that can take any business to a result-oriented position. They also make the job of the app developers much more easily reducing the overall cost and time of development.