The growth of the mobile app industry is humongous and it is increasing with the passage of time. Well, many of us might not have heard of Progressive Web Apps, but they are very close in changing the mobile landscape. Introduced by Google in 2015, PWAs are gaining popularity now. Let us explore more about Progressive Web Apps.

What are Progressive Web Apps?

These are web applications that load like a regular web page or a normal website. They offer user functionalities like working offline, receive push notifications and access device hardware, which otherwise are available to only native mobile applications.

They are:

1. Reliable:

Progressive Web Apps pre-caches the key resources eliminating the dependency on the network, thereby, making sure that the users are able to get an instant and reliable experience. There is a service worker, which is a script written in JavaScript and it runs in the background separate from a webpage. It offers features which don’t require any web page or user interaction; for instance, push notifications and background sync.

2. Fast

In a research by Google, it was found that 53% of users will abandon a website if it takes 3 seconds to load or respond. Progressive web apps are fast and are able to enhance the overall performance.  This will help the businesses to retain the users and improve conversions.

3. Engaging

Progressive web apps remain on the user’s home screen and don’t require app store. They are able to provide full-screen experience to the users by using the web app manifest file. The web app manifest is a JSON file which is used to instruct the browser about the web application and how it should behave when installing on the user’s mobile device or desktop. The web manifest file is necessary as Chrome requires it in order to show the prompt “Add to Home Screen”.

The web app manifest also helps the users control the appearance of the app and the way in which it is launched. It provides options allowing users to specify home screen icons as they wish; which page to be loaded when the app is launched, the orientation of the screen and whether to show the chrome browser or not on the screen.

Further, by sending the web push notifications, they can help in the re-engagement of the users.

Advantages of Progressive Web Apps

1. Platform Compatible

PWAs can run on multiple platforms. The developers have to prepare the code base once only, which reduces the cost and improvise the quality of the final product.

2. Quick to download

Almost 60% of mobile users don’t download new mobile apps every single month. In the case of Progressive Web Apps, while the user is viewing the website, a prompt appears to download and add to home screen.

3. Minimal download Size

PWAs take merely 100KB to download. With such a small size it is really easy to download.

4. Instant updates

With the help of service workers, the new scripts/ stylesheets can be used as soon as they are deployed to the server. The user is not required to even press an update button.

5. Easy to discover & flexible

The prompt to install progressive web app appears when the user visits a website. After clicking the installation prompt, it hardly takes 10 seconds to install and it can run on any device.

Feature List of PWAsFeatures of PWA

Progressive web apps vs traditional mobile apps

Traditional App development can be tedious and expensive. But in the case of PWAs, this won’t be the scenario; as they make more use of web and they have access to a wider range of APIs and plugins. Also, they are cross-device compatible.

PWAs have an advantage over traditional apps during onboarding and have a higher engagement rate.

According to a report by Localytics, 52% of users opt to push messages and these users have 88% higher engagement rate.

All in all, push notification help in enhancing retention rates. Well, new APIs allows the websites to send push notifications but the users are three times more likely to open an app rather than a website.

Moreover, apps run directly on mobile devices and not on any browser. This allows the app to be better optimized and consume fewer amounts of data.

Since PWAs are in its early days, it is likely that the drawbacks and limitations can be overcome with the passage of time.

Future

Google is in the process of taking the Progressive Web Apps to the next level. It has recently started testing for the Android Instant Apps (AIA), which would be easily able to combine PWA and traditional, native apps.  

The app developers will not be required to develop PWAs separate from the native app. Rather than this Google will facilitate the users with the provision of an app on the Google Play, where the user is allowed to either download native app or access the PWAs in an instant manner.

AIAs will be more capable of allowing the users to discover the app by either using a search engine or a link. This will take the user directly into engaging with the app owner’s service of product offering. There will also be an option of downloading the native app.

Conclusion

Progressive Web Apps are in the growing stage now but they are promising. Let us wait and see what new thing PWAs will brig for us with the passage of time.

If you have any views about PWAs, feel free to comment below.

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Author : Multidots
Multidots is full service enterprise software development company with services revolving around consulting, enterprise-grade custom application development, custom mobile and cloud applications to automated and manual testing. We are proud to have served mid-sized to large enterprises including Fortune 500 Companies in our clientele.

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