Progressive Web App (PWA) : Understanding The Basics, Pros & Cons
The world we live in is currently evolving rapidly than you, and I can ever imagine. The heaps of innovations we witness in our everyday life has the tendency to strike a chord with people across the globe. With such services at our disposal, there is a growing demand to revolutionize the entire ecosystem of web development.
Development companies are now giving businesses and individuals a new form of an application called the “Progressive Web Apps”. PWAs have lately garnered the eyeballs of businesses in minimizing the development cost and improving engagement with their audience. Since the large chunk of the internet has left newbies clueless about PWA, here is our simple, easy-to-understand guide.
What is Progressive Web App (PWA)?
Progressive Web App (PWA) is an application built using the latest web capabilities to offer users an app-like user experience. The rich look and experience is in more ways identical to a native app. Progressive web apps are an amalgamation of websites and mobile applications.
The word “progressive” denotes that they boast of new features, courtesy of which you can transpire any website into a progressive web app. Developers who cherish creating applications on both mobile and web will find it fascinating that a PWA can be developed in less time.
Progressive Web Apps are brought to fruition with advanced APIs to improve reliability, capability and installability. At the same time, PWAs connect to users worldwide, irrespective of their device, with a single codebase.
Significance of APIs in PWA Development
Present-day browsers help PWAs achieve their truest potential — courtesy of APIs like Manifest and Service workers.
Service workers are the integral players in creating progressive web apps. They are the scripts that function in the background, independently from the web page. Service workers are widely acknowledged for their efficiency in managing the cache of responses. This is an API that incorporates essential files to provide offline support.
Currently, SWs provide their assistance in services such as push notifications and background synchronization. That said, in the coming future, SWs will also be offering functions like periodic synchronization or geofencing.
Benefits of Progressive Web Apps
PWAs come with a ton of benefits, and incorporating them is not a tricky job in today’s day and age. PWAs offer a wholesome experience that brands can leverage for the greater good. Following is a run-through of the important benefits of a PWA:
Affordable than other apps
Since content is required to be produced only once, PWAs save time and money by not creating the same content independently for platforms like iOS, Android, and a website. PWAs need not be updated for new information. This is such a lucrative feature that makes PWAs an economical option.
Independent from app stores
PWAs are widely famous for their app-store independency. In simple terms, PWAs are easily available to users via a search engine and other platforms. Moreover, they may find a better reach through platforms like social media channels, the home page, etc. A benefit such as this helps small business and independent app developers to save fees charged by the respective platforms.
Use of Push Notifications
PWAs keep the users engaged by rolling out push notifications consistently. These notifications are pop-up messages that offer app-related details, such as informing users about upcoming events or sharing updates on the latest products. PWAs appear on the phone’s home screen, allowing users to kick-start that particular app straight away using the push notification. The service workers play an indispensable role here.
Hurdles of Progressive Web Apps
PWAs come with nifty features that help all kinds of businesses. However, there are few things to discuss that make progressive apps not all picture-perfect. Following is a quick overview of the hurdles faced when working on progressive web apps.
Support to devices
PWAs have one significant drawback that prevents many businesses from utilizing them to the fullest — their inability to support Bluetooth or Near Field Communication (NFC) connectivity option. With very limited access to wireless connections, PWAs limit the usability of applications.
Access to the app market
Another downside of creating a progressive web app is that you have little to no access to app stores like Apple or Play Store. Most apps are easily found when made available on any of the aforementioned app markets. This limits the user-base of the said PWA from reaching out to a wider audience.
PWAs run on high-level web code, therefore asking smartphones to do the complex task of deciphering the code. Users noticing a significant drain in their phone’s battery is more likely because of such apps’ prolonged usage. PWAs great potential undermines this drawback, as more and more users have become used to it.
PWAs offer the best of both worlds — native and web apps. Progressive apps share the exact similarities with native applications but come at an economical price. Businesses worldwide have leveraged PWAs with effective strategies, and many are coming forth to explore the use-cases.
Pic Courtesy: Freepik