Progressive Web Apps: Ticket to the Future of Apps

Progressive Web Apps

In 2015, Google Chrome engineer Alex Russell and designer Frances Berriman devised the term "Progressive Web Apps" to describe a new generation of apps that leverage modern features supported by recent browsers. This includes Service Workers and Web Manifests that enable users to upgrade web apps to first-class apps in their native OS

Progressive Web Apps are experiences that bring the best of both worlds - the capabilities of the web and the power of apps. They are beneficial to users from the very first visit in a browser tab, and don’t require any downloads or installation.  Users can progressively build a relationship with the app over a period of time and it becomes more useful and powerful with time. Progressive web apps have quick loading times even over flaky networks. They are accessible from an icon on the home screen and load as a top-level, full-screen experience.

But what does a Progressive Web App mean?

A Progressive Web App is one that is:

 

  • Progressive: This means it works for every user no matter what the browser because progressive enhancement is a core tenet. 
  • Responsive: It fits any form factor from desktop to mobile tablet, and whatever technology enables browsing. Connectivity independent: Enhanced with service workers to work offline or on poor quality networks.
  • App-like: Experience like an app, because the app shell model separates the application functionality from application content. 
  • Fresh:  Continuously updated and fresh because of the service worker update process. 
  • Safe: Secure owing to HTTPS that prevents against snooping and content tampering. 
  • Discoverable: Is clearly recognized as an "application" thanks to W3C manifest and service worker registration scope, allowing search engines to find it.
  • Re-engageable: You can send push notifications to re-engaged users. 
  • Installable: Lets users add apps they find most relevant to their home screen without the need to access an app store. 
  • Linkable: Allows easy sharing of the app via URL. It doesn’t require installation or download.

Why Progressive Web Apps? 
Research shows that an app loses 20% of its users for every step between the user’s first contact with the app and the user starting to use the app (on an average). Consider the typical steps in the user journey: discovering the app in the app store, downloading it, installing it and getting on board. The beauty of progressive web apps is that the user can start enjoying it immediately eliminating the rest of the stages.  A progressive web application uses the best of mobile app’s characteristics, leading to increased user retention and performance without the hassle of maintaining mobile apps.

Use cases: What are some use cases to consider PWA? Native apps are usually recommended for apps that one expects users to return to frequently and a progressive web app delivers on this front. Twitter mobile, Washington Post PWA, Flipboard, FT PWA, 2048 puzzle are well-known examples of progressive web apps. 
To decide whether your next app should be a cross platform app, a native app or a progressive web app, you must first identify your users and their most important user actions. Since it is “progressive” it works in all browsers and provides new and enhanced experiences when the browser is updated with improved features and APIs. 

If you choose to opt for PWA, then you may have to decide what functionality to offer offline and facilitate the navigation (since there is no back button in standalone mode). PWA works out very well if your website already has an application like interface. 

PWA and Cross Platform Technology: PhoneGap recently announced the intention to create compatibility between Apache Cordova and Progressive Web Apps in 2017. This will enable developers to create a PWA app, deploy it on the web, and also compile it for App Store distribution. Developers of PhoneGap are excited with the new possibilities this opens up for them. 

Another possibility is to create a mobile lite version wrapped in a native application using any of the several cross platform frameworks like Cordova, React Native etc. This can create an optimal mobile experience across all three platforms –mobile web, iOS native and Android native.

Conclusion:
It is evident that PWA are here to stay and will be adopted widely in the future. They will not replace native or hybrid apps, but provide a creative solution in use cases where you want to bypass app fatigue and where the web-based experience pushes traffic to devices that support more advanced features.  For example, AliExpress increased conversion rates for new users by 104%. United eXtra Electronics saw 4x increase in re-engagement and 100% more sales from users arriving via web push. Have you built or used Progressive Web Apps? Please share your experience in the comments section below. 

Similar Articles

photography app

Photography apps are quite popular more than ever among Smartphone users. This is due to the fact that photo applications do embrace the features like - tonal richness, image quality and clarity at the same time. You can also achieve this kind of quality in videos.

Mobile Monetization

Do you want to make the most money from your app? A mobile monetization platform can help you achieve this goal, but it is important to choose the one best suited to your goals and target audience.

app security

Despite rumors, or better say ‘misinterpretations’, about the alleged ‘app boom’ coming to the brink of closure, the fact of the day remains the same as it had been over the last year, year-and-a-half, or so: mobile apps are striking gold, the app boom is not going to end anytime soon.

Top 5 iPhone Application Development Trend Expected to Dominate 2018

Another splendid year is in climax. Another splendid year for iPhone application development. With 4 mn+ apps, a download growth rate of over 70 percent and a whopping $5bn+ in revenue, Apple has sure earned a fortune in 2017 from its App Store

Mobile App Development

We are about to step into 2018, carrying great technology experience of 2017, hugely contributed by Mobile App Development with some successful and prosperous Mobile apps. Especially iPhone App Development is mentionable, which has gained extreme demand due to the wide usage of iPhones.

Smartphone Industry

It seems like yesterday when Steve Jobs launched the first ever iPhone and gave rise to an entirely new generation of the cellphones. These phones had the capability to perform a wider range of tasks gradually replacing other devices in your life. In a span of ten years, the smartphone industry has seen humongous changes

Six Major Benefits of Cross-Platform Development for Hospitality Industry

The concept of cross-platform is gaining immense popularity among all the major industries like- healthcare, financial, eCommerce and more. Here is the list of benefits of cross-platform mobile app development for your hospitality business.

Future of Mobile App Development

The mobile app industry is at the most interesting juncture – both from the users’ perspective and the developers’. One thing is certain that mobile app development is going to dominate the tech space in the coming years. 

Mobile apps for small business

Not that long ago, a website was the best indicator of a company’s online presence and activities. It still is one of the most important factors that can be directly related to overall business success