Are progressive web apps the future of mobile app development we envisioned?

Are progressive web apps the future of mobile app development we envisioned?

Are progressive web apps the future of mobile app development we envisioned?

Day after day, innovation after innovation, the mobile development technology domain is improving to enable more ease and power to developers.

Thanks to the rise of web-specific technologies, mobile app developers having good knowledge and familiarity in HTML, JavaScript and CSS can easily build web applications. One of such revolutionary innovations is called progressive web apps.
By offering immense convenience and speed, progressive web apps help developers minimize the agony they face while learning popular native app development languages such as Java, Swift and Objective-C. Progressive web apps go beyond your expectations and do the unusual by allowing you to publish apps without following restrictive rules practiced by Google Play Store and App Store.
This blog will make you realize how developing progressive web apps is the answer to all the battle mobile app developers had to fight.

The meaning of Progressive Web Apps (PWA)

In a simple language as understood by everyone using Mobile apps, Progressive web apps are a clever blend of traditional native apps and web apps. However, PWA are a little different in its operations and functionality than those traditional web apps and native apps we interact with everyday.
Here are some of the progressive features of PWA that make them stand out from the orthodox approach in the app development:

Really progressive and innovative

Pervading the digital market as a new thought, PWAs are progressive in a practical sense as well. Regardless of the browser in use or location, these apps appeal to large demographics of mobile app users. You can have Chrome or Opera or any other in-built browser in your device, you can access versatile PWAs from any continents and economies. The functionality of Progressive web apps is so innovative and modern they can work in any environment given the fact that your device supports it in real time.

Brilliant responsiveness

Progressive web apps are designed to suit any device environment including desktop, mobile, tablet, wearable or any other device platform that has not yet been discovered. The working of PWAs remains consistent across all device platforms and OS and yields great responsiveness in all circumstances.

Organic Look and feel

The usage of progressive web apps don’t make you squirm as this app feels so organic just like usual mobile app you use on your device. The navigational flow and interactive elements of PWAs are as intuitive as mobile apps we have used so far.

Frictionless actions in Latest updates

Due to its Service Workers feature, Progressive Web Apps make it easy to stay up-to-date and fresh with latest updates. You tend to receive updates instantly and simultaneously, much faster than traditional mobile apps since there is no waiting for the approval from app stores.

Connectivity and safety

Service Workers also help adjust the working of the app to the inconsistent, low-quality mobile networks. It even supports offline functioning, thus maintaining the seamless support throughout all ups and downs of internet connectivity.
As for ensuring safety, Progressive Web Apps are controlled using HTTPS which establishes proper authentication in place, keeping at bay instances of unauthorized authentications and intrusions.

Convenience of use

To save the hassle faced normally with traditional mobile apps, users are enabled to keep their favourite and highly usable PWAs on their home screen with no troubling involvement of app stores.
Additionally, if you want, you can easily install PWAs via a shared URL link which helps get rid of complex installation process.

Redemption from restrictive attitude of App Store

Mobile app developers often stagger their way through getting approval from mobile app stores. While getting their apps approved, they need to follow a lot of strict standards and norms defined by App Store. App Store has toughened their rules around app update timings and its content and you can’t publish the update that twists the basic functioning of your app.
However, PWAs find you redemption from this hassle and allow you to make instant updates and changes to the app with minimum waiting time. Thus, Progressive Web Apps help resolve the barrier between App publisher and App Store.

Discoverability

Since the each step used to download and discover an app lowers the interest of mobile app users, the number of users downloading the apps on their smartphone is going down as suggested by the recent Comscore Mobile App Report. This is to say that Progressive Web Apps have reduced the steps that lie between discovery and installation. By minimizing the friction involved in the process, PWAs thereby help you optimize the journey of getting the app on your device home screen. Another advantage offered by Progressive Web Apps is accessibility. Native apps are available only on Play Store or App Store which limits users’ choice to discover mobile apps. However, traditional and progressive web apps do not impose these limits simply because there is no store for them.

Significant features of PWAs

There are certain unique features of PWAs that make Progressive apps worth consideration. A few of them are:

PWA Manifest

PWA has Manifest which is a simple JSON file developers use to control how the app actually appears to users in desired screen areas. Manifest enables users to drive the app on device’s home screen with freedom to launch it in their own style. This feature makes the user experience a bit more personalized when it comes to defining the appearance at the time of launching the app.

PWA Use Cases for increased speed, usability and conversions

Some of the early adopters of PWAs are Alibaba, MakeMyTrip, Twitter and Lancome to name a few.
Thinkwithgoogle narrates the success stories of these brands that have achieved remarkable growth in redefining web interactions and making them faster than before.
For instance, Alibaba.com, the world’s largest B2B trading platform, experienced significant rise in conversions (76%) and with four times higher interaction rate after it adopted PWA for its mobile site.
Twitter Lite (Twitter’s PWA version) loads 30% faster and saves 70% on data while consuming less than 1 MB of space. The app supports even flaky internet connectivity or 3G networks and loads the data faster on user devices.
Indian Travel Booking site MakeMyTrip also upgraded to PWA to enable rapid-paced and seamless mobile booking experience and saw a triple boost in conversion rate and extended shopper sessions.
Lancôme doing excellent in the Beauty market also experienced a 53% up in session length a drop of 10% in bounce rate amongst their iPhone users.

Push Notifications

Push Notifications can be displayed by the open app via Notification API or Push messages can be handled from server and pushed to the user screen when the app is not actively running. Push notifications are built with the idea of re-engaging users with timely updates and custom content like offers and reminders.
Progressive Web Apps leverage Service Worker API to control push messages in the background and send them to your application.

Benefits of Service Workers

Service Worker is basically a script running in the background of your browser and intended for features that don’t require a web page or user engagement. It enables essential technical foundation for features such as background sync, offline connectivity and push notifications.
The reason why PWA supports offline capability lies in ability to work as a network proxy. When a user attempts to open a new page of any PWA, the request is first received by Service Worker which then tries to fetch that content from the cache storage. If the content is accessible to Service Worker, the user will view the new page get the new page even with zero or improper network connectivity.

Is PWA the future of mobile apps?

Now that futuristic technologies are growing more perceptible and implementable, we can say, presumably, that PWA is galloping towards being the future of web development. PWA penetrating the web development market is a great leap for mobile app developers and app publishers who aspire to grow big in shortest wait time.
Businesses can opt for PWA depending on their customer segments, keeping native apps for engaging loyal users who are fond of installing them while reserving PWAs to acquire new ones.
As Progressive Web Apps consume less amount of data compared to a traditional mobile or web apps, it is evident that end users will undoubtedly welcome this new trend. However, even though PWAs are resilient and powerful enough to enrich web interactions, they do not necessarily claim replacing Native apps. In fact PWA can work in line with regular mobile apps.

Posted by Hena Patel

Hena Patel
Hena Patel is a digital and content marketer who works at Spaculus Software Pvt. Ltd. She is working with B2B companies and provide useful and engaging content that converts viewers into customers. You can connect with her on LinkedIn.

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