Why build a PWA?

Over the previous months, discussions around Progressive Web Apps have grown and flourished in the media since more and more companies and businesses started to enable them. PWAs utilize innovative capabilities to provide native app-like and fast web experience to users requiring no downloads and application stores. These applications are indexed by search engines, deployed to servers, meet certain requirements, and can be accessible through URLs. PWAs combine established practices with innovations, new technologies, and convenient opt-in installation flow to create engaging, accessible, and reliable user experiences. In this article, we will shed a light on what are PWAs, what can they offer, and why build a PWA. Read also: What is ERP?

What is a PWA?

Progressive web application is a web app that loads and works just like any regular site or web page. At the same time, it is progressively enhanced and offers the functionality typically available only to native mobile apps, such as device hardware access, launch-from-homescreen installation, push notifications, and the ability to work in difficult network conditions or offline. PWAs combine the features of native mobile apps with flexibility of web apps.

Turning Website Into App

The main feature of PWAs is the mechanism of service workers that allows to add the application icon to the homescreen of the user’s device. Basically, you can turn a website into an app after the first installation! PWAs feel and behave much like a native app while simplifying the end-user setup process.

Service Workers

The abovementioned service workers in PWAs fully eliminate the dependence on the web connection by pre-caching the most important resources. They are a piece of Javascript that automatically installs in a browser and works as a virtual proxy between the browser and the network, implementing caching strategies and allowing for offline work.  

Working Offline on Mobile Devices

Once a user downloads the PWA to his or her smartphone, he or she can consume content within the application without web connection or on low-quality networks. All that is needed to do is save it in browser storage. This magic is simple: if a resource is already in the cache, a PWA returns it first before trying to download it from the network.

Push Notifications for Mobile

PWAs make the concept of web app more native in nature. A PWA can re-engage users with mobile push notifications. Service workers are responsible for leveraging and handling the requests going out and messages coming in, while push API is used to trigger the notifications. Series of tests with mobile push-notifications show that they demonstrate better user engagement and conversion rates as people spend twice as much time on a website. To check how it works enter https://www.makemytrip.com/ from your mobile device.

The Benefits of Building Progressive Web App

The major advantages of PWAs are the following:

  • Security by default

Technologies that power progressive web apps require them to be served via HTTPS. This allows ensuring that the content is secured, and preventing all kinds of snooping.

  • PWAs are linkable

They do not require complex installation and can be shared via URL.

  • Installability

You can keep PWA applications you find most useful on your homescreen without the need to hassle through an application store again and again.

  • Engagement

PWA users get the same benefits than those using web apps. For example, they enable push notifications to alert you of important information. With PWA re-engagement becomes more easy.

  • Discoverability

Search engines can easily see and identify PWA apps due to service worker registration and W3C manifests.

  • Responsiveness

PWAs work with all screen sizes and devices. They fit any tablet, mobile, or desktop.

  • Up-to-date

The service worker updates keep progressive web applications “fresh.”

  • Reliability and independency

PWAs never break. A progressive web app launches regardless of the speed of Internet connection and support for offline work via mobile devices

  • Native app-like

The native app-shell approach allows providing native application-style interactions and navigation.

  • Progressiveness

Created with progressive enhancement in mind, PWAs are compatible to all browsers. Read more: How To Build a Mobile Application?

How do PWAs differ from old web applications?

When compared to the old web-wrappers, there are only few limits to progressive web applications. At the same time, they have access to the basic features, such as bio-authentication, face detection, push notifications, motion sensors, GPS, offline data storage, camera, etc. Progressive web apps become even more native app-like if combined with UWP. In case your browser does not support PWA for some reason, you can easily roll it out.  

Who already uses PWAs?

Although PWAs are relatively new to the industry, they have already been widely used by many companies. Brands small and large are switching to progressive web apps to provide better UX to users. Besides Google, Microsoft, and Apple, putting support for progressive web applications into their browsers, many businesses are configuring their sites to enable them. PWA-enabled brands are Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter Lite, Lyft, Uber, Google Maps, Tinder, and Starbucks. Even Microsoft Outlook has recently become PWA-friendly. For people, this means more PWA applications on the market not only from big companies, but also from local car, florist shops or cafes that just cannot afford to build traditional apps for iOS and Android. Read more: How to Improve User Experience of Your Website?

Why develop a PWA?

Indeed, PWAs are awesome for most and great for all. Many companies are abandoning their native mobile apps due to unreasonable cost of maintaining them for several platforms. From this perspective, PWAs appear to be a more viable alternative to many businesses. With PWA, you build one app for all platforms without having to deal with numerous updates and distributing binaries.

Takeaways

PWAs are here to stay. A great web experience enhanced with PWA tech can increase your conversion rates and purchases. PWAs provide businesses with the ability to focus on developing a single app instead of having to build and maintain several native applications. At Loonar Studios, we always keep our fingers on the pulse of new technologies and innovations. And we are capable of creating a PWA of any complexity from scratch. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions. Good luck!