Progressive web apps is the next big thing for sure in mobile apps industry. It was initially proposed by Google in 2015. In less than two years, it is already very popular among masses specially because of its ease of use and user experience.
Websites v/s Smartphone Apps
We all have used Different platforms to access contents, like a Web Browser on Desktop & Mobile Applications on our Smartphone and we all are completely comfortable using them. According to Global Web Index (the largest firm that provides data regarding digital consumers to advertisers) around 80% of the internet users own a Smartphone that means they must be using native apps for different needs. In case you don’t know, Native Apps in your Smartphone are like Application softwares on PC. They are developed to do a specific task on a particular platform. But that’s where the problem comes up! It runs on a “PARTICULAR PLATFORM”. That means an android application or an APK that was developed using, let’s say Java or C# won’t run on iOS but can run on Android!
But Websites also has more internet consumption and may be slow depending on that, even to show basic information they depend on your Network speed. But in terms of accessing information, websites can be considered better, as Let’s say you are on your computer, then you may just fire your browser and open up Zomato to order dinner and simultaneously access Flipkart to order new Dress and play video on YouTube and access all 3 tabs easily, or even use them in a stacked window mode and enjoy multitasking! But in Smartphone you need to have these 3 Apps! This takes more RAM and Storage space etc. It is also true that changes in websites can be done easily and the user is not required to download any update.
So, we need something which is not entirely internet dependent like Smartphone apps and saves resources like RAM & Storage just like Websites. Also, they should provide smooth working, multitasking and fast access, consumes less internet bandwidth, and has offline access if possible. So there comes the heroic and topic of this blog “Progressive Web Apps”.
What are Progressive Web Apps
Progressive means advanced or gradually advancing in extent, so now you may have framed an idea about Progressive Web Apps (PWA).
PWA is a software dev methodology. For better understanding, we can say they mix up the best of Mobile Apps and Websites. Experience is as smooth as it is on mobile. Progressive Web Apps work regardless of your Browser (like any website), fits on any screen size (like BootStrap Websites), Works offline (like Mobile Apps), and are always up-to-date because of Service Workers.
Service Worker works between Network and Device to supplement the content. They use caching mechanism efficiently. They can handle Push notifications easily and are event driven. They make PWA efficient, and also PWA require no installation and can be accessed using your web browser. Chrome on Android allows installing web apps to the home screen, and for developers to tell Chrome that their web app is installable, manifest. JSON file is created. Web App manifest is a W3C specification that defines JSON-based manifest. In short, Service Workers are like a client-side proxy, written in JS that can fire PWA from Home Screen regardless of network state and by pre-caching resources, network dependency is not a problem, making Progressive Web Apps reliable!
Design Approach – App Shell
Progress Web Apps are faster as they use App Shell, a model where an initial load of mobile web app provides a basic shell of the App’s Interface and content of that application is loaded after this. It is not a framework itself but a Design approach. In this model, the basic UI of the app and its content is kept separate. You can relate it to Model View Controller (MVC) design pattern. The Shell is basically a code bundle stored locally in browser cache of your Smartphone.
Current Scenario of Progressive Web Apps
According to Google:
- Service workers enabled Konga(Nigeria’s Largest online Mall) to send 63% fewer data for initial page loads, and 84% fewer data to complete the first transaction!
- Because of Web Push notifications, eXtra Electronics(Saudi Arabia’s leading and fastest growing consumer electronics retailer) saw 4 times growth in terms of engagement of user and 100% more sales from users arriving via web push.
- Flipkart (Indian e-commerce Company) also triples their time-on-site with the help of PWA, they call it Flipkart Lite.
Why to use Progressive Web App
Progressive Web Apps do not require us to write codes again and again for different platforms that mean no more building of native apps for all platforms and making of web apps. Progressive Web apps are not exactly a new thing out there but many companies are yet to switch to it, they are not buggy like Hybrid apps as they do not depend on any other middleware like PhoneGap and can have HTTPS to provide transaction security etc. that means they are more secure. Without installing these apps they can be kept on the home screen and from there they can be accessed in a browser.
Progressive Web Apps Features
- Reliable (Works offline, can be launched from User’s home screen)
- Fast (App Shell makes it fast, and respond quickly to User Interactions with smooth animations)
- Engaging (Silky smooth UI and App-Like Experience)
- Secure (HTTPS prevents snooping etc.)
We hope you liked our beginner guide to Progressive Web Apps, please leave comments in the comment section below in the case of any doubts.