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What are Progressive Web Apps and How Can They be Useful?

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Published on: 04 Feb 2021

Progressive web apps are the latest technology industry initiative to improve cross-platform efficiency across the web and smartphone. Are they just another trend that's going to disappear almost as quickly as they've come, or are progressive web apps here to stay? Is the PWA still around today, let us find out?
Progressive web apps can also support web pages in the browser as they can give a common mobile app's user interface. How do these innovations work and what are the obstacles? In this article, we discuss the arguments for and against the use of advanced web apps and tooling to make the most advanced web app possible.

What are Progressive Web Apps?

What are Progressive Web Apps

A progressive web app or PWA is a Web-based app that works as a native mobile app, with a home screen app symbol, responsive design, quick load speed, offline features, and more. Progressive web apps involve service providers running in a separate browser thread, to handle requests, cache, and store shell information in a cache, enabling the app to work offline or in networks of low quality as one hopes.PWAs also permit users to be authorized, push notifications are sent and payment is even accepted.

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PWAs are useful to test a minimally viable product because they allow for rapid and sometimes cheaper development.PWAs are the way for most developers to be less resilient because separate iOS and Android developer teams must not be hired by you.

Requirements for Progressive WebApplication Development

The goal of a PWA is to increase the effectiveness of mobile internet for all. It is easy to forget that the deck of wild cards is your user. Application performance can be influenced by different combinations of devices, browsers, network connectivity, and other variables. There are standardized specifications to be included in progressive web apps, as expected. So, what are the progressive puzzle pieces for the Web app? 

2- Service Workers
3- App Manifest


Secures your browsing experience with HTTPS

This protocol has taken you to our site and secures your browsing experience. Testify about the lock icon next to that the HTTPS URL. Adding "s" to HTTP eliminates the possibility that malicious eavesdroppers can intercept information, including passwords and bank information, that you post on the website.
This security layer for your progressive web app ensures that information is safe and encrypted using an SSL certificate. Progressive web applications store data locally on the customer side that is the interface for the app users.

2- Service Workers

Service Workers

Because HTTPS is the prerequisite of service providers, we are going to immerse ourselves in this definition. Service workers allow developers to manage events –like push reports – that require no user interaction. Service workers can cache and store static assets in memory, and they can function offline. Service workers stop working to save on storage, but they reboot to deal with the request if new information is needed, and they react with updated data if correct.

3- App Manifest

App Manifest

The app's manifest file is another requirement for creating a gradual web app. This structured JSON file contains metadata to find information like the app icon, name, default display information, and more. The application manifest file is what devices would install the PWA directly from the browser on the home screen to prevent the typical update from the app store. There are program manifest file generators to fulfil this requirement to deploy the PWA automatically.

Progressive Web App Advantages

Progressive Web App Advantages

For many reasons, the development of progressive web apps may be helpful. It is no secret that mobile quickly becomes the channel of choice to interact with customers.
When you compare mobile applications to mobile browsers, the use of mobile apps is very skewed. Advanced web applications provide a seamless interface between the web and mobile users of the browser and a fully authentic application.
Fast loading, connectivity for different Internet speeds, consistent user experiences, integrated app store, and many more are other benefits. Let us explain how each aspect can be influenced by PWAs.

  1. Fast Loading
  2. Internet Access
  3. Consistency in User Experience
  4. Budget-Friendly
  5. Easy Maintenance
  6. Smaller and Lighter
  7. Low Bounce Rate
  8. Offline Mode
  9. Push Notifications
  10. Reliability and Security

1- Fast Loading

PWA Benefit- Fast Loading

Google says 53 % of users abandon sites that take more than 3 seconds to load. Consider that, in many industries and countries, the average perceived page load speed is 8.66 seconds. As PWAs use local caching for statics and service providers for the collection of data, even without an Internet connection, the app shell itself loads in milliseconds. But before new data are available, such as the latest tweet on Twitter Lite, users must connect to the Internet.

2- Internet Access

PWA Benefit-Internet Access

While many countries all over the world have developed their website, the global average Internet speed is just 9.1 Mbps. Put this speed in perspective on the internet.
The slowest Internet is 0.31 Mbit/s from Yemen, where you can download a 5GB file for 36 hours compared with 60.39 Mbit/s in Singapore, which you can download the 5GB file in 11 minutes. Slow internet connections are ideal for progressive web apps, because the app pre-loads, eliminating the need for costly calculations that create longer load times.

3- Consistency in User Experience

PWA Benefit- Consistency in User Experience

It's the same user interface and user experience that you see a progressive web app in the browser and continue to use the app installed on your device. This consistency is advantageous so users only have to learn the functionality and features of one user interface. It can be frustrating if the web application and mobile app of a company are very different and cause pain when you don't operate as expected.

4- Budget Friendly

PWA Benefit-Budget Friendly

The budget is and continues to be an important consideration for any company in deciding to increase its digital presence. Progressive Web App development costs are inexpensive. A company needing indigenous software will create separate Android, iOS, and Web applications. In total, it can cost between £14k and £60k to create a native application for these three platforms.
In comparison, the production costs would be 3 to 4 times lower or from £3k to £15k depending on the specifications. Furthermore, it provides an immense benefit in terms of being compatible with all the items available on the market (desktop or mobile).

5- Easy Maintenance

PWA Benefit-Easy Maintenance

The maintenance costs of an application are neglected by many businesses. Instead, both the application creation and maintenance costs should always be taken into consideration before any application is developed. A maintenance charge would be approximately 20 per cent of production costs for each form of application (mobile or web). The maintenance expenses are less than those of native apps because of the costs of creating progressive Web applications.
The maintenance of an app usually includes:

  • Fees forApp Hosting
  • Bug-resolution and latest improvements
  • The annual cost of all plugins from third parties
  • Performance and marketing control

Therefore, you will have to spend about 20% of development costs to support the application, considering all the factors. However, depending on your specifications, this cost can increase.
Suppose you intend to add new functionality while at the same time changing the esthetics of your application. In this scenario, up to 40% of construction costs may be paid. Thus, in contrast to native apps, the total cost is considerably decreased as you chose to move forward with progressive web application applications.

6- Smaller and Lighter

PWA Benefit-Smaller and Lighter

In contrast with native applications, progressive web applications can be up to 90% smaller and lighter. It's real, don't feel surprised. Technically, modern mobile apps can minimize their app measurements to less than 1 MB. Few examples of the best progressive web apps  are:
1-Twitter Lite
2-Starbucks (Lite)

7- Low Bounce Rate

PWA Benefit-Low Bounce Rate

On average, the smartphone search bounce rate is 52 per cent while in the progressive web app the average bounce rate is around 42 per cent. If combined with the page load speed and smaller scale, incremental web apps in search engines work better.

8- Offline Mode

PWA Benefit-Offline Mode

Even if there is bad connectivity or no connectivity at all the best feature for the creation of a Progressive Web App. It stores the data and enables the user to access the last online interaction information. This is because PWA has a strong cashing system that can accommodate offline demands. Also, the offline feature allows achieving high efficiency, irrespective of network problems.

9- Push Notifications

PWA Benefit-Push Notifications

One of the most critical functionalities Web apps fail to include is push notifications. The easiest way to connect your consumers with your application is to use push notifications. Therefore, it is certainly a benefit to recruit radical web app developers. Statistics show that the interaction rate increases by 88 per cent and the retention rate increases by 3x with a Push Notification feature. This personal engagement allows the brand to become the latest in its audience.PWA has opened the doors for several new features exclusive to native applications:

  • Quick
  • Engaging
  • Reliable
  • Trustworthy
  • Save data
  • Discoverable
  • Shareable
  • Saves time

10- Reliability and Security

PWA Benefit-Reliability and Security

Progressive web applications backed by HTTPS are much safer than native applications. It does not avoid snooping and tampering with the content. The app also has some protection abilities using web Bluetooth technology.

Disadvantages for Progressive Mobile App

Just like any other technology, PWAs have their disadvantages. A number of the drawbacks of designing these applications are attributable to their very existence.

  1. Non-Native UI may not make you feel at home
  2. Feature and device limitations
  3. Battery consumption

Let us see all the above in detail:

1- Non-Native UI may not make you Feel At Home

Progressive mobile applications, not natural languages such as Objective-C or Swift, are created using conventional web technologies. While you can customize your styles and user interfaces with JavaScript, the language of the web, it is difficult to make them work and feel fully native.
This can make PWAs feel like an experience with a lower-quality app. Like a bootleg DVD, it provides the finished product with a working version, but often at the cost of consistency.

2- Feature and Device Limitations

With the 11.3 updates of iOS, Apple made progressive web applications possible on the iPhone. Unfortunately, backward compatibility is not possible, meaning that no devices that have not been upgraded to 11.3 or later will work as planned. For what software features PWAs can access, there are also some constraints set by Apple. For example, Apple does not allow Touch ID, Face ID, Bluetooth, Beacons, or battery data to be used by PWAs.

3- Battery Consumption

Since the source code for a progressive web app is not written in the native language, they are not as battery-efficient as native apps. Your Daily Active Users can use the app less, or worse, not at all, if they find a rapid depletion of their battery.

Progressive Web App Examples

Since PWA can be less expensive to create because you don't have to employ developers for the language of your choice for every native platform, are they more suited to SMEs? While the cost advantages of developing a gradual web application motivate SMB to include them in its plan, they are also a great way that large corporations can take advantage of. Currently, several major corporations have developed progressive web applications to supplement their iOS and Android apps.
Let's see how major corporations operate with PWAs.

Progressive Web App Examples

1- Uber 

With its technical advancement, Uber has changed the concept of the collaborative economy. Uber has a PWA that offers its users fast choices to delight their tech-savvy commuters. With PWA, users can book a ride with a simple click regardless of their network connection, operating system, speed, and device type.

2- Starbucks

Starbucks' PWA imitates their current native app with key features to deliver its customers rapid and sensitive results. No surprise, why the PWA was overwhelmed by the users of the website.
The popular coffee house allows quick and easy access for its customers even offline with great UX and smooth animations.

3- Pinterest

Due to Pinterest's website experience, popularity and registrations have continued to drop over the thousands. For Pinterest to regather popularity and generate revenues, PWA turned out to be a perfect solution. The PWA version enhanced key performance assessment, increased the participation of users, and increased time spent on the website.

4- Forbes

The giant publication branded a new PWA mobile experience to boost readership, reader rates, ad sight, average time, and depth of scroll. The Forbes PWA has a new card layout, offline support, push notification, excellent UI/UX and add a user interface easily to the home screen! The Forbes PWA is very customized.

5- Twitter

PWA from Twitter reinvited smartphone users substantially. The Social media behemoth PWA has made the Website secure, lighter, and quicker for users with instant loading times and an enhanced mobile web experience. Without running into any download problems, Twitteratis can access websites from any computer and any location.

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Are progressive Web Apps dead?

Although most of the popular browsers support PWAs now, though there is no 100% compatibility.

Does PWA need browser?

PWAs are intended to work on any platform that uses a standards-compliant browser, that includes both desktop and mobile devices.

Are progressive Web Apps the Future?

PWAs are definitely our future, as they are our past. They are cross-platform by default, so there is no need to develop separate apps for Android and iOS.

What is difference between Web App and progressive web app?

Progressive web app is just a "boosted web app". Just a couple of smart additions can turn almost any website into a progressive web app.

How do I create a progressive web app ?

These are some steps to create your progressive web app:

1.Create your app manifest
2.Add the manifest you made to your base HTML template.
3.Create offline HTML as an alias to index HTML
4.Create the service worker
5.Deploy your progressive web app
6.Use your PWA