WHAT IS PWA?

Thanks to this web development technology, websites can adapt to different portable devices. There is no doubt that it will remain on the same website but look like a mobile app. Users are able to add such site to the first screen of a smartphone, send push-messages, and, of cause, work offline. We may say, that any project can win from this solution based on User Stories.

Among key PWA advantages are:

  1. You should not suffer from the application shop limits. Conventional mobile apps use much data. On the contrary, PWAs use less data, they have appeared in developing markets where Internet connection signal was not very good.
  2. Adaptability and cross-platform tools: it’s enough for us to develop a single application that will show itself appropriately on any known device of any operating system (just with the help of browser). It is not necessary to create other versions of the IOS and Android app because common platforms have no specific limits for the PWA.
  3. PWAs are indexed and improve SEO performance: Google gives such site higher positions if you connected PWA technology. At a minimum, Google will appreciate the presence of a security protocol - all advanced web applications run on HTTPS.
  4. PWA is very visible for search engines. It works pretty well with conventional SEO, which unites more users since PWA depends less on paid purchases than the app store.
  5. This technology works even with a weak or lack of signal at all. Therefore, the user will receive fast answers with hitch-free animation and scrolling.
  6. In general, their creation is simpler and much less resource-intensive than conventional apps. The application builder can appreciate the cost savings in terms of app maintenance and its development.
  7. Offline usage. To provide an offline experience is possible due to the device’s storage that PWA proceeds.

Of cause, just as pluses, cons are here:

Developers can face several PWA support problems using some versions of Android, also there are no notifications and clues on the main display on iOS.

  1. Support is available for Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge browsers. The rest of them may have problems.
  2. Some custom tools are not maintained by PWA. It is not a big issue for current requirements, but in case of further development of the app or its functionality improvement, this has to keep in mind. Among the restrictions: direct call/SMS services from the application, accessing the calendar, alarms, browser, task management, cameras, and, finally, contacts.

8 famous businesses using Progressive Web Apps (PWAs):

  • Twitter  
  • Financial Times
  • Tinder
  • Uber
  • Starbucks
  • Forbes
  • Instagram
  • Alibaba

Technical features of a PWA. What are they?

There are 3 important of them. They work together and moves the web app to operate. Such technical components are extremely vital for a first-rate PWA developing:

  1. Service Worker. Web applications have direct communication with the network, so if there is no connection, the network is out of reach. Service workers defined as an element of JavaScript code that creates a proxy connection between the network and the browser. This component creates the first separate web application through the use of the cache API of the browser while managing the push notifications.
  2. The file manifest. A manifest file is a configured JSON file that stores the following information about your app: an icon for the main screen after installing, a short name, the color of the theme, or background of the application. If a manifest file is on, the Chrome browser detects it and automatically launches the web application installation banner. Then PWA will be installed after the user confirms the icon installation for the first screen.
  3. HTTPS. Service workers can make responding changes, thanks to the possibility of all network requests interception. Protected HTTPS protocol is mandatory for PWA because the client-side is the only place where service workers can perform any action. Background synchronization as well as push-notifications also deliver to the service workers for processing. This is a weighty plus for the user’s work and keeps the client constantly involved. A more natural experience is achieved thanks to the back synchronization along with push-notifications. Although they are non-compulsory.

PWA versus Native Apps. The main differences.

Of course, progressive web applications (PWA) and native apps show a large number of fundamental differences. But the question is, which of these two technologies is best suited for your company's attendance on mobile devices? Thus, among the main differences between PWA and native programs are the following:

  • Cross-Platform adaption. PWA saves a lot of time and optimizes costs, thanks to running both on iOS and Android. It also works on the most popular browsers. On the other hand, native applications give developers ample opportunities to create an extra user-friendly interface because during the development process the structure is specifically adapted for the mobile application.
  • Installation. Thanks to PWA you do not face administrative problems that may arise in application stores. All you need is to run such web applications from your mobile device pre-installed browser. A perfect example is Twitter, which uses PWA. Native applications installation differs, you need to use the services of an application store, such as Google Play or Apple, iOS App Store
  • Offline Usage. This category absolute winner - native applications. PWA technology just can't fully transfer everything to a mobile device without a constant connection. Although it allows users to receive cached content, it is not enough for reliable mobile work.
  • Updating. Almost no action needed from the users concerning the native or progressive web applications updating.
  • Discovering. PWA is well seen by SEO search engines because, as mentioned above, it is a regular website, like many others on the Internet. In opposition to this, native apps can appear in search results in two ways: in search engines and in the App Store. But these two methods are highly dependent on many external factors. All because the pages of the program itself cannot be indexed and grouped in all search engines.
  • Secure function. PWAs are functioned over HTTPS, which encrypts the browser-server interaction. By creating a protected background for PWA, the web-site owner can be confident in its reliability. As for native applications, the vendor and users can use them securely due to the simple use of multi-factor verification, which is especially useful with the login function.
  • Device Features. There a lot of pluses of placing applications on the user's portable device. The core of which is the ability to synchronize the application with other programs and tools of the smartphone. Progressive web applications are utilities that allow you to take the benefit of definite features of the user’s device. It means they may have the same capabilities as basic websites, so you do not need to provide additional access to device programs. Native applications can use the following functions as GPS, Geo faction, Accelerometer, Camera, Calendar, Contact list, SMS, mobile payments, etc.
  • Price. Regarding cost, a native application is usually created in Java for Android and Objective-C for iOS. This method is time-consuming and needs complex construction of the building process, which is required for each platform separately. Support is also quite expensive. The cost of a project built with PWA will be determined based on the complexity of the design, and the number of implemented features. Then it also needs investments to research and improvement.

Conclusion

Thus, Progressive Web App is a kind of a site that has certain features that make browsing on a portable device more enjoyable than a regular website that has been redesigned for portable devices.

This technology gives any developer huge prospects to create competitive web applications or even advanced custom applications. Equally important is that a program with not extensive functionality can easily work on any gadget, anywhere. However, when the user switches to a more advanced device or browser, the functionality of PWA is greatly expanded. It is no need to have it on each device – this possibility gives everyone even more benefits to work with this technology.

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