What is a Progressive Web App (PWA)? | Donatix

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Creating a good user experience is vital for every enterprise out there. From websites to apps the choice can be overwhelming at times. And will become even more complicated in the near future, largely due to the fact that the tech world is ever-evolving. As a result of the constant seeking of something better, the Progressive Web Apps came to being. But what exactly are PWAs?

Definition

Progressive web apps are websites that look and feel like an app. This means users can access all information and capabilities without the need of downloading a mobile app. This is a specific kind of software that is built using technologies like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

Differences

Thanks to a couple of smart additions, you can turn almost any website into a progressive web app. This means that you can build a PWA rather quickly since a native app is more challenging to develop. Mainly because a native app is often built in a programming language specific to a platform that can be either iOS or Android. Moreover, when compared to a traditional website, native mobile apps start up quickly and tend to load even with low to no network availability. These apps and PWA can push notifications and share location – benefits which so far the web hasn’t offered users. PWA has the same capability as a mobile app and improves web user experience, but don’t need to use up their mobile storage space to download the app.

Benefits of PWAs

The main benefit of PWA is that they are generic and therefore compatible with all the different types of cellphone operating systems. Nevertheless, this is by far not the only beneficial feature, there are more such as:

  • No need to use different app stores
  • You can build PWAs with common web technologies
  • Since you’re turning your site into an app, you’ll have fewer code-bases to maintain
  • PWAs are responsive and work with many different screen sizes
  • PWAs are smooth, fast, and lightweight even when the network connection isn’t optimal because they pre-cache your key resources.
  • They work offline, unlike your regular site
  • PWAs are discoverable via search engines 
  • You can use push notifications to re-engage users
  • Installing a PWA can lead to higher engagement

Challenges with developing a PWA

The progressive web app was coined as a term by Google in 2015, so this makes it relatively new. And with its early stages of popularity&adaptability, there is no surprise that there are some negatives and challenges that come up.

  • Although PWA has existed for quite some time, it’s still taking longer than expected for businesses to start making use of them. Brands such as Apple have been slow to adapt their devices to support PWA, due to the fact that PWAs were mainly endorsed by Google.
  • Apple only stated in 2018 that they would start supporting PWA on their mobile phones. The slow process may be due to its app store and its popularity.
  • Mobile phone makers are also responsible for what extent they allow PWA to get access to certain phone functionalities.
  • PWAs are also still quite expensive for companies to build themselves.
  • Turning your site into a PWA doesn’t mean you directly improve the SEO of that site.

Conclusion

At their heart, Progressive Web Apps are just web applications. Using progressive enhancement, new capabilities are enabled in modern browsers. However, many big companies have launched their own PWAs, meaning that this still rising technology is worth paying attention to. Twitter, Pinterest, AliExpress, Lancôme have seen quite a big percentage rise in engagement, time spent on the site, and user-generated ad revenue.



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