For the past few years, a growing number of people are opting for mobile phones when using applications or accessing the internet. According to the statistics, the number of mobile users has reached 6,95 billion people in 2020 and is expected to increase by almost another billion by 2024. Therefore, to meet customer demands businesses have to find ways to adjust to this trend and provide users not only with responsive websites but also with efficient and user-friendly mobile apps.
Progressive web app (PWA) development is one of the options. It includes features of both native and web applications allowing companies to increase customer engagement and achieve a higher conversion rate. In this article, we’ll look into the details of PWAs and find out why they are considered the future of web application development.
Introducing Progressive Web Apps (PWA)
PWA is a new type of web applications. In contrast to a native app, it is not designed for a specific platform. However, due to the enhanced APIs, design solutions, and progressive technologies it provides users with native-like features on any device using only one codebase. Companies opt for progressive apps since they are fast, secure, installable, and responsive.
- Fast. PWAs work faster than web apps since they use server workers to process requests, cache data, and perform other functions.
- Secure. Progressive web apps are secure as they work through HTTPS protocols.
- Installable. Although PWA operates like a web app (no downloads are needed), users can add it to the home screen of their device.
- Responsive. PWA can operate on any device that has a screen and access to the browser (mobile phone, tablet, TV, etc.).
PWA – Is It Really Good?
To find out the answer to this question it’s necessary to compare the advantages and disadvantages of progressive web applications.
- Cost-effective. PWAs are simpler to develop and maintain. Moreover, it’s easier to find a well-skilled software engineer since progressive web app development is not limited by a particular programming language or tool.
- Searchable. Progressive apps, in contrast to native applications, are listed in the searching engines. Thus, they are easier to find.
- Progressive. Progressive as a key description of PWAs means that this type of application can adjust its features to different devices. In case of using an advanced device or browser, the functionality of the app is extended.
- User-engaging. PWAs provide its users with many native-like features such as push notifications, full screen, splash screen, etc. They foster a better customer experience and increase the conversion rate.
- Shareable. One of the PWA features taken from web applications is an easy process of sharing. It’s possible to do that via URL without time-consuming installations.
- Take less storage space. While native applications have to be downloaded and then stored on the device, PWAs don’t require downloading and are stored on a web server.
- Work offline. When it comes to web applications they fail to respond when there is a weak or lost internet connection. However, progressive apps can work even offline due to service workers (a core component of PWA architecture) that manage cache information.
- Lack of security. Although PWAs ensure safety via HTTPS protocols, they can’t compete with the advanced security features of native applications.
- Limited functionality. Progressive web applications can’t perform many functions that native applications can. For example, they don’t have full integration with device features (calendar, callbook, etc.).
Everything has its merits and drawbacks. Thus, when deciding whether progressive app development is a good solution for your business it’s important to analyze your project goals and requirements. If you want to save time and reduce costs on the developing process while creating an app with a wider audience reach PWA is the best solution. However, in case the project success depends on the app speed and responsiveness or there should be a tight tap into device features it’s reasonable to opt for native applications.
Core Requirements for PWA
To be a PWA an application should comply with at least three main requirements. It should have a Web App Manifest, service worker, and operate via HTTPS protocol.
- Web App Manifest. It is a JSON file that includes information about main PWAs specifications such as the name of the app, background color, information on how to launch it, and others.
- Service Worker. It is a script that runs in the browser and connects the server and client-side of the application. A service worker handles caching, requests from the networks, push notifications, information updates, etc. This tool allows PWAs to work offline.
- HTTPS connection. HTTPS protocol helps to protect user data and build up customers’ trust.
What’s next for Progressive Web Apps?
Progressive web applications were first introduced by Google in 2015. Being a new technology, they face many hurdles on the way to adoption. Although PWAs can perform in the majority of browsers only a few of them (Chrome, Firefox, and some others) have implemented this technology.
In the nearest future progressive web development is expected to gain increased browser integration and receive better support of operating systems.
Nevertheless, even nowadays there are success stories (Twitter, Aliexpress, Pinterest, Forbes, etc) when progressive apps helped companies reinforce their performance and achieve optimized conversion.
Although there are still few examples of PWAs on the market they are undoubtedly the future of web application development. Progressive applications have the potential to enhance user-engagement, improve conversion rates, and boost customer experience. It’s a time-saving and cost-cutting technology that encompasses the benefits of both native mobile and web applications.
Entrusting your app development to a progressive web app development company you opt for a cutting-edge solution that will lead your company to the top market positions.