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Progressive Web Applications – The future of Web app development

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Progressive Web Applications – The future of Web app development

A progressive web application(PWA) holds the advantage of the latest technologies to connect the best of the web and mobile apps. In recent times, they have gained a lot of recognition because of the ease of development process and have a winning factor when it comes to the application’s UX. Additionally, these apps work and provide several functions that deliver a similar user experience as in the native apps.

Progressive web applications provide more without getting rid of any of the features that make the web great. In this article, we will look over the importance of a progressive web application and its recent advancements in the industry that have increased its popularity among  customers.

Progressive Web Apps 101

Progressive Web Apps is a set of best practices to make a web application function similar to a mobile or desktop application. The goal is to have a uniform and seamless experience so that the user is unable to tell the difference between a native mobile app and PWA. In short, they are mostly the right feature combination of Web and native apps. Let us study the facts and benefits of using this excellent solution for modern-day user experiences.

Understanding the need for Progressive web application

Let’s start by defining the characteristics of Progressive web application(PWA) that uses modern web capabilities to achieve an app-like user experience. Here’s the full feature list that Google employs to describe a PWA:

Installable

Progressive Web Apps is the solution to significant issues about mobile applications like network, data update, memory, and user engagement. PWAs are a few KBs in size, while the mobile apps are usually more than 15 MB.

Speed

PWAs offer optimized load time for the user while launching the apps. As compared to native apps, they take lesser time to load the content and enhance progressively, taking advantage of all the features available on the user’s device or browser.

Safe

As a progressive web application, it must be hosted over HTTPS to prevent third-party attacks and to ensure that content is delivered securely. Thus, it improves the overall security of the content.

Cross-Platform 

Progressive web applications are not restricted to a specific platform, unlike native mobile apps. Hence, the publisher does not need to develop different versions of the app for diverse platforms.

Cost-Effective

For any publisher, the biggest perk is the saving of expenses in terms of app development and maintenance, This is because the cost for development of  a PWA is quite less than making a native app.

Push notifications

It is an efficient tool for user re-engagement through the prompt content updates from websites they use. PWAs send push notifications even when the app isn’t active, or the browser is closed.

Background synchronization 

One of the crucial features of the Progressive Web Application is the synchronization of user interactions. The servers can send timely updates to the app and allow it to update itself when the connection is restored. It sometimes delays actions and restores the service when connectivity is stable. For instance, the message sent before the connectivity loss will be marked as delivered and then will be sent as soon as the service is returned.

Reliable

The idea is that the web breaks when network connectivity is lost. PWAs and Service worker cache enables the internet not only to load the content instantly but makes the network a progressive enhancement. The service workers can make your application run faster, and make it function even without Internet access. Offline will no longer be a concern. It will be a choice for you to create an offline caching workflow and user experience for your application. However, large sites may be limited as to how much content they can cache for offline experiences. But you can create a functional experience that offers users practical offline experience.

Easy installation

PWAs are not distributed through app stores. These apps are shared through a URL instead, so they are easily discoverable. The installation is simple and follows visiting a site and then adding it to the home screen of the device. 

Extraordinary Experience

The web app provides an extraordinary experience to give the feel of working on a native app. The users need not open a browser to access your website or app. When you build web apps with an ionic framework or some other technology, the app should deliver an impressive user experience. This only happens with PWAs. Your app or site should be accessible immediately on hitting the app icon or launch of the app.

Progressive Web applications are quite popular

Progressive Web applications make it a competent solution for mobile users as they face trouble using native apps when we count on space, update, network, and more. Every day a new technology is introduced, and the digital industry is growing at a brisk pace. In such times, Progressive Web application is a meaningful concept in the world of mobile apps. It battles many rising issues in the industry. The digital market that abounds countless mobile applications and a few get installed. One of the main reasons for low rates of app installations is insufficient space. If we look at the average size of a native app, it is far more than a Progressive Web App.

Being lightweight, users can install a number of Progressive Web applications on the device. Another advantage is that the users of a Progressive Web application app avail the usage in the low network connection. Moreover, it functions in a dedicated window and always remains fresh.

A Progressive Web application is a web-based application that gets installed on your system and works offline utilizing cached resources. They help improve the performance by handling network requests, caching app data, and the best of all is enabling push notifications even when the user is not online.

The Progressive Web applications also come with the SEO benefits. All the native apps are found in an app store, but Progressive Web applications, being published over the web, contribute to growing your SERP rankings as they rank high on regular website search engines. This makes it easier to find, regardless of app stores. As per the recent reports by Google, Progressive Web applications are going big to deliver amazing user experiences on the web. The Progressive Web applications are taking off with these excellent advantages and certainly will be the future of the mobile web in the near time.

Technologies Powering Progressive Web Applications

Now that we have understood the benefits of Progressive Web Apps, we use modern web capabilities for smart user experiences with no downloads or app stores, and all the goodness of the web. Let us discuss the popular options of Progressive Web Apps Frameworks to attempt incredible mobile app experiences.

Angular Framework

Angular is a robust MVC framework to develop client-side web applications. The arrival of Angular 8 has brought developers a more straightforward way to create a PWA. Angular 8 is equipped with a service worker for built-in PWA support. The latest version of this framework has several new features for creating responsive and reliable PWA.

This tool enables scalability for a project, so now your web app can manage a significant scope of data. New CLI commands allow developers to turn projects into a PWAs easily. It comes with IntelliSense and Typescript, followed by extensive community support by Google to maintain it.

ReactJS

Supported by Facebook, ReactJS is well-known among Progressive Web App frameworks. The comprehensive JavaScript library and a large community is the base for ReactJS. It uses JSX to employ render functions and connect to HTML documents. The projects are easily scaled with the addition of packages. The web apps are developed in an extensive ecosystem that offers a high degree of easy scalability and flexibility. The code redundancy facility is used to build Native as well as Web apps.

VueJS

Like React JS, Vue.js allows scaling the project with the addition of extra packages. Presently, Vue has one of the fastest-growing libraries with the simplicity of coding and as high-speed rendering using Virtual-DOM. It makes it popular among the developers of Progressive Web Apps. It is notably flexible to set up using Typescript and JSX. 

Ionic

Ionic was first introduced in 2013 as an open-source SDK, which is primarily based on the Apache Cordova and Angular framework. It comprises a library of components for both Android and iOS. The developers are allowed to create web pages that run inside the browser using WebView. Ionic renders web pages in such a manner that they resemble a native app.

Polymer

Polymer offers a wide range of templates, tools, and web components. It is an open-source PWA framework developed by Google that simplifies the process of developing Progressive Web Apps. It uses pure JS/HTML/CSS, presenting it as an independent PWA framework. The extraordinary documentation covers  all phases of the app development. If also provides and understandable API. The browser embedded development tools need no special debugging feature.

Conclusion

The Native App vs. PWAs debate will continue to be substantial – but it ought not to be a competition here. The use cases are available for both, and it depends solely on your requirements out of the technology. As technology advances, there have clearly arisen some good use cases for PWA. For example, PWAs such as Twitter and Pinterest both demonstrate how you can bring your mobile web experience with the use of the native apps, which will help in markets of poor or rare connectivity.

On the other hand, a small business or startups that could not afford a fully native app should consider a progressive web app instead. It will save themselves the time to build and maintain apps on distinct platforms. 

Presently, not all browsers support it, but it is changing at a reasonable speed — browsers like Firefox, Chrome, and Opera are already working on it. By using responsive design techniques, progressive web apps perform well on both desktop and mobile platforms. If you’re considering to write a native app, do not miss to have a look at the benefits that a PWA offers.

To sum up, it is one of the most exciting technologies to emerge in the modern times of Web Development. They use essential elements like HTTPS, service workers, manifest file, and an app shell architecture to fulfill native app experiences to web apps.

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