Progressive Web Apps (PWA) are about to change the mobile landscape. Though introduced in 2015 by Google, PWAs have gained popularity this year. All mainstream browsers are supporting them including Safari on Apple Phones. So before it becomes all the rage, what are Progressive Web Apps exactly?
What is a PWA?
In layman's terms, PWAs are mobile apps delivered through the web. This technology allows PWAs to deliver an app-like experience on your browser. As PWAs use an app-shell that provides app-style navigations and gestures, it feels like using a native mobile app while browsing a PWA. Since progressive apps are built on the web, they are not tied to specific devices. A PWA displays seamlessly and identically on all devices, including desktop, mobile, tablet, or whatever comes next.
What’s more, service workers enable a Progressive Web App to load instantly, regardless of network quality. In other words, this web app is designed to work offline and in areas of low connectivity. With the help of pre-caching, it stays up-to-date, serving the user with the newest content upon launch. Similar to an app, the user is able to save the PWA to their home screen to access it at any time. Making it installable, without the hassle of downloading it from the app stores.
Native App vs. PWA
Native Apps running on iOS or Android devices are delivered through the App Store or Play Store respectively. So here the App Store or Play Store act as middleman between App Developers and App Users.
While native mobile apps provide the highest quality user experience, they come with friction for both the App Developers and the App Users. One of the significant differences between PWAs and native apps is the absence of this 'App Store Middleman'.
For Progressive Web Apps, this middleman is completely taken out from the picture. For App Developers, no App Store means you are no longer restricted by iOS and Android’s rules and guidelines. A developer will not have to go through an approval process, allowing the app to be used as soon as it’s ready. There is also no need to manually update the app, as the revised app version will instantly and automatically be available to everyone.From the perspective of the App Users, they are able to access the PWA without having to download it from an App Store or Play Store. Instead, a PWA is linkable, which means anyone can launch the app straight from a URL. You can share it on social media, email, text message, online ad, or link it to a QR code, and the user will instantly be immersed into an app like experience on their mobile phones.
For More details read our blog post on HOW PWA CAN HELP YOU REACH MORE AMOUNT OF PEOPLE ON MOBILE?
Mobile Responsive Website vs. PWA
PWAs are a hybrid of native apps and mobile websites, but how do they differ from responsive websites? Unlike 'old school' mobile websites, PWAs are fast. Note that 53% of users will abandon a site if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load. PWAs load instantly, regardless of network state, and provide fast-to-respond interfaces. This eliminates their dependence on the network, as mobile websites do, ensuring an instant and reliable experience for users. A PWA also updates in the background, so users never need to wait for new content to load.
In addition, traditional mobile websites focus on static information, while PWAs are able to provide users with dynamic functionality. PWAs offer an immersive full-screen experience, allowing customers to place mobile food orders, participate in a loyalty program and contact a business. It can also re-engage users with web push notifications, similar to native push notifications.
What does the future look like?
Native Mobile Apps are definitely here to stay. But PWAa can provide the ideal solution for businesses looking to build a compelling and easily adoptable mobile experience for their customers. PWAs offer the best of both worlds, with all the shareability of the web and all the functionality of the native app.
Edify Now has been working on PWAs since 2016 and we are excited about this new technology. It gives us the ability to implement native features into customer's existing web presence. We are happy to be part of the future of apps, where the Mobile Apps and the Mobile Web will become one.
Pranav M. Jere
Founder and CEO