A Comprehensive Guide To Progressive Web Apps (PWA)

A Comprehensive Guide To Progressive Web Apps (PWA)

The internet has changed significantly over the years. If we talk about early 2000s, web pages looked a lot like encyclopedia entries and newspaper prints, but during the course of time, they evolved into more decent e-com portals, blogs and video websites.

With the launch of smartphones, more and more users started internet browsing on mobile devices. Mobile apps rapidly took over websites in online world. Businesses shifted to app from websites, as apps presented them with more features and better engagement with their users. But, as per US Mobile App Report 2017, 50% of the smartphone users don’t install any new apps in a month.

The latest rage on internet, Progressive Web Applications (PWAs), aim to combine the features of mobile apps with the ease of use, discoverability and accessibility that are the pillars of the modern internet.

Here we will discuss about the PWAs and why they are the next big thing.

What are Progressive Web Apps?

Google defines PWAs as user experiences that have the reach of the web and are:

Engaging: These apps offer same level of experience like native apps. Users can install them on their device, they have the ability to show custom icons and use device features (e.g.  Bluetooth, camera, push notifications).

Fast: Users should get immediate response to their actions (e.g. typing an input, toggling a switch) and all the animations should be smooth.

Reliable: These apps should load irrespective of network connectivity (i.e. slow connection or even offline) and immediately show the UI.

PWAs, rather than a set of technologies, are user experiences that have the perfect blend of the accessibility of the web platform and native-like behavior.

These apps are not limited to particular frameworks and can be made with none or any framework. When it comes to these apps, you need to think about the design approach, mindset, rather than particular technologies.

Core principles of PWAs

  • Engagement

PWAs should have the feel as well as the capabilities of native apps. PWAs can be installed on the home screen of all the major mobile platforms and can be started without showing any browser controls.

  • Performance

Performance is a major metric of any web app. According to Google reports:

53% users leave a site if it takes more than three seconds to load

When page load time increases from one second to 3 seconds, the bounce rate increases 32%

When page load time increases from 1 second to 5 seconds, the bounce rate increases by 90%.

  • Slow internet connections

These apps are expected to work on slow network connections. Navigation in the app should be smooth irrespective of latency and bandwidth.

  • Offline support

Progressive Web Apps, on getting launched from the home screen, shall start irrespective of the network status. Service workers- the client side proxies written in JavaScript are used to achieve this.

These are some of the reasons why PWAs are getting so popular and why businesses are trying their hands on it.

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