The term Explaining Progressive Web Apps is somewhat misleading. When we talk about apps, we usually think of a specific piece of technology but PWAs are actually more of a concept or an approach. PWAs are websites that have all the capabilities of an app, without needing to download one. They provide an app-like experience on any device or channel.
PWAs have been around for a while now but due to a variety of recent changes—particularly to the way mobile OSs work. In 2020 they are expected to make their way into the limelight.
This article “Explaining Progressive Web Apps” will tell you everything you need to know about PWAs: what they are, why you should build one, their benefits. Some issues you might encounter when building one.
A native web app exists either on iOS or Android devices only, meaning if you want your app to feature on both systems. You either have to create two native apps or create a hybrid app. Advancement in web technology aims to build once, i.e one PWA that can run everywhere, any system, any device, with consistent performance.
Big brands are investing in PWAs! Why? The big trend for the past decade has been mobile optimization and development. Each year, mobile presence and speed have become more important as mobile sales increase every year and have now overtaken desktop sales. There are so many updates to account for, both with web and mobile, and it can become difficult to keep up. With PWAs everything is done in one place.
PWAs Are Great News for Web Developers!
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Mobile development and app development have been extremely popular in recent years. The downside to this was it excluded a lot of web developers from being able to take part in mobile development. They could, it would just take a fair bit of time to upskill themselves, but it meant learning new languages like Swift and that presented a barrier for many. PWAs allow web developers to use the same skillset to achieve mobile app creation, or progressive web app creation, which will run on everything.
The Benefits of PWAs
Expectations around loading speed and navigation speed are becoming stricter. The median loading speed of PWAs is <1—1 second or less. They’re faster and require less data transfer. Remember that PWAs can also leverage caching to function offline and with low bandwidth, so users can still enjoy a quality experience in any situation.
You don’t need to build two native apps, or one hybrid app, or a hybrid app and a website. All your money is invested in one area, to go everywhere. Instead of building multiple apps, you’re really just building a website.
PWAs are websites, so they’re easy to access. Mobile search is equal if not more prevalent than web search. PWAs suit this trend while still being built on the web. All content relevant to a PWA will be web indexed, making them easily discoverable. Speed and performance consistency also boosts SEO.
PWAs can fit any current devices or new devices, including desktop, mobile, web, and tablet, efficiently maintaining user experience across all devices.
PWAs are websites. Compared to apps that are stuck on the app store, PWAs are easier for users to share, making cross-channel marketing more efficient. Generally, users are more likely to check out an application if they simply have to load it, rather than install anything.
Easy for Developers to Learn
There are still situations where building a native app is more suitable but generally, PWAs are faster and a lot more time and cost-efficient to build. However, gaining these benefits comes with challenges, let’s discuss them below.
The Challenges of PWAs
As with any new concept, technology, or trend, there are going to be issues; those who get in on a trend first are usually those who receive the most benefits. But also have to deal with initial challenges.
Some Engagement Features Are Still Not Supported
This is mainly talking about fingerprint IDing and fingerprint sensors. As more people invest in PWAs. It’s expected that these features will be available and PWAs will be just as functional as other apps. At the moment, Ionic is one of the most popular ways to bridge these gaps, and it’s best that you hire expert Ionic app developers for this. The developer needs to be up-to-date with the latest in Ionic development. Therefore go with specialty development companies like CodeClouds.
General Knowledge Gap
New concepts or new technology need a strong developer community behind them. This is essential: up until that happens, building a PWA is non-viable and is too risky for businesses. They want to be able to hire experienced developers, rather than have to hire the only developers. Fortunately, there are plenty of PWA resources new web or mobile developers can take advantage of.
Users are still catching up on what PWAs are, how to use them, and the benefits they provide. PWAs will function slightly differently from how most users think of websites or native apps. But websites can be added as apps on a device’s home screen, and you can even add push notifications. Again, this is expected to be time-sensitive; popular brands like Pinterest and the Washington Post have migrated to PWAs. Therefore a large population of users has begun to understand and get used to PWAs.
Hope this article “Explaining Progressive Web Apps” has simplified PWAs, and you are considering building one. For more information about Iconic, check out building a basic PWA and the Ionic framework.