Progressive Web Apps
A progressive web app (PWA) at its core is a simple web application. But,it includes modern web application programming interfaces (APIs) with progressive enhancement features to deliver reliable cross-platform web applications.
PWAs represent the next frontier of web apps. Google uses the term FIRE to refer to the benefits of PWAs – Fast, Integrated, Reliable, and Engaging. And the statistics certainly prove that the acronym is not wrong. Companies that have adopted progressive web apps have experienced impressive results. Twitter, for example, had launched its PWA – Twitter Lite – in 2017, after which the company reporteda 75 percent increase in tweets and a 20 percent decrease in bounce rates.
Benefits of PWAs: What are They?
PWAs are enhanced web apps that deliver exceptional performance on any device. The apps have been developed using the best software development practices that aim to make web apps function similar to desktop or mobile apps.
1. Improved Performance
Using PWA technology results in the creation of quality web apps. These apps can perform reliably and securely across all platforms. Page load speeds on web apps also improve significantly, resulting in reduced bounce rates. Furthermore, animation and scrolling feelsmoother, which has a positive effect on how online users perceive the app.
PWAs work smoothly, regardless of the network connection you have. The apps perform best even on slow network connections. Users won’t experience significant lag when interacting with apps. The user experience improves when they interact with apps that perform smoothly and respond quickly to requests.
2. Enhanced Interaction
New capabilities become visible once the web application is installed on a device. PWAs run in a separate window instead of within a browser. The web apps can be launched from the taskbar, dock, screen, or shelf. Users can also search for the apps on their system, and switch between them using the task switcher. This makes the app appears to be part of the device in which they are installed.
PWAs can also accept content from other apps. They can also be set as a default app for handling different file types. The apps can be personalized by users that can result in greater customer engagement. The web apps help transform user experience due to enhanced interaction.
3. Increased Capabilities
PWAs support advanced functionalities not present in web apps that are accessed through the browser. Apart from push notification, geolocation, and WebRTC feature, you can also add file access, app badging, media controls, and full clipboard features to the app. The features can be integrated with the user-centric permission model for increased security.
PWAs are compatible with different devices. Users can install the app on Chrome OS, Linux, macOS, and Windows devices. They can use web apps,regardless of the platform. This will greatly expand the reach of web apps. Developers can target new customers without having to develop a separate app for different platforms.
4. Reduced Development Costs
One of the biggest benefits of PWAs is that they reduce development costs. Developers make use of web stacks for developing the apps. The development costs for creating progressive apps are significantly lower than traditional web apps. In addition, the cost of maintaining the app will be lower as compared to traditional apps.
With progressive apps, developers don’t have to create multiple apps for different devices. A single progressive web software will work flawlessly on different devices. PWAs function in the same manner on Android, Windows, iOS, and macOS devices.
5. Easier Installation
Installing PWAs is much easier as compared to the installation of progressive web applications. Users can install the app through the website. There is no need to go to the app store and download it.
Users don’t have to make space for the new app. There is no need to delete theirexisting data. This saves time and is convenient for users.
Best Practices for Progressive Web Apps Implementation
Progressive web apps combine the best of online and native applications. Implementation of app development requires meeting certain technical requisites.
1. Secure HTTPs Connection
PWA architecture is built on a secure and reliable infrastructure. Apps developed using the PWA technology should be deployed through a secure HTTPs connection. This is important to reduce vulnerabilities and threats for the user.
Delivering the app through an HTTPs connection also allows the execution of heavy codes in the background. The app will perform smoothly without any significant delays that could result in a negative user impression.
2. User Requirement
Google Chrome requires that users must have visited a site at least twice before installing a PWA app. The installation message is not shown when a user visits a site once. The feature has been implemented for validating user intent.
Some developers have criticized the technical requirement that might be replaced with an improved one in the future. But, at the moment, developers should keep this requirement in mind when developing a progressive web app.
3. JSON Format
A key requirement of PWAs is that the data extract should be provided in JSON format. This allows the app to cache information regarding the CSS rules and deploy an offline version that offers a complete user interface.
4. Service Worker
PWA technology requires ‘service worker’ service to be integrated into the apps. The service worker is responsible for content updates, file caching, and data handling. The scripts work independently of the app or website on the server.
The service worker handles requests through HTTPs commands like Post, Get, and Set. It should handle the request based on whether the user has network access.
Progressive web applications deliver an amazing user experience. The apps make use of the latest web features that result in increased reliability and capabilities. PWAs load faster as compared to regular apps.
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