A Quick Look at the Characteristics and Benefits of Progressive Web Apps (PWA)

With the improvements in technology, Progressive Web Apps are finding increasing acceptance among both developers and users. Many companies like Twitter and Pinterest are investing heavily in this technology because of the benefit it offers in improving user engagement. Here is a quick look at PWA, its characteristics, and its advantages.

A Quick Look at Progressive Web Apps, its Characteristics, and its Advantages

What is a Progressive Web App?

Progressive Web App or PWA is a set of modern web development techniques that combines the best of native apps and the web world. It delivers an app-like user experience with the discoverability of the web.
The core elements of a PWA are

  • App Manifest File
  • Service Worker
  • Application Shell

What are the characteristics of Progressive Web Apps (PWA)?

  1. Progressive: Works for every user regardless of browser choice.
  2. Installable: PWA installation is done seamlessly in one click.
  3. Fast: PWAs by caching resources and doing predictive prefetching make the site faster.
  4. Linkable: Easily shareable with a URL.
  5. Engaging: New APIs like Web push notifications help in re-engaging users.

What are the benefits of Progressive Web Apps (PWA)?

  • Device Independence: A web app experience that works on every device including Android & iOS devices and Windows desktops.
  • Cost-Effective: Helps save the cost associated with mobile app development and release of the app in the app stores.
  • SEO Friendly: Since PWAs are web links, their SEO is better and they are more discoverable in search engines.
  • Works Offline: PWAs have robust app caches that enable offline functionality.
  • Lightweight: PWAs take up a lot less space when compared to native apps and even loads more quicker.
  • Secure: Since SSL is a requirement of PWA, they are generally safer.
  • Native App-Like: PWA provides an app-like experience and even supports hardware functionalities like accessing the camera, GPS and GPU.
  • Easy Updates: As there are no app store mediators, it’s easy to roll out updates for PWA.

How to get started with Progressive Web Apps (PWA)?

Popular web frameworks such as Angular, React, Ionic, and even Plain JavaScript and HTML can be used for building PWA.

Give importance to web development techniques that focus on the performance of app delivery and launch like the PRPL pattern.

  • Start simple with prototyping a PWA based on existing web assets to increase customer awareness. If it’s a new project, make use of emerging web component standards to build it as PWA.
  • After publishing the web manifest and determining which pages or parts to make static to push performance cache that content with IndexedDB. Subsequently, experiment with the web push and analytics to determine the push content.
  • When building new mobile-first experience projects consider building them using the latest web technologies.

Are PWAs difficult to build?

The simple answer is No, here is the reason why:

  • PWAs are a simple extension of the web: The only requirement for a website to function like PWA is a manifest file and developers are finding out new tools.
  • Tools are emerging: Google, Ionic, and Kony have already built tools to help developers create manifest files. With more tools coming soon, PWAs will become better.

How Progressive Web Apps Help Startups and SMEs?

  • Ensuring More Returning Visitors: As users add PWA only after ensuring that it has what they require, it makes it more likely for them to visit again.
  • Capturing New Leads: PWA helps sales and marketing teams to direct their efforts with more effectiveness.
  • Raising Brand Awareness: with the logos of PWAs on the home screen of users, PWA development helps in increasing visibility and boosting awareness.

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