App Development, Thought Leaders

A Beginner’s Guide to Progressive Web Apps

January 24, 2020

by Ashish Goyal

Business Growth Strategist, Xtreem Solution

Progressive web apps (PWA) are the best both worlds: they function as well as a native mobile app while still behaving like responsive websites. Push notifications, offline functionality, and Internet hosting are all core benefits.

Since the debut of progressive web apps (PWA), many businesses have taken good advantage of this technology. They can deliver exceptionally engaging user experiences while attaining new user foundations at the same time.

If you want to be ahead of the competition, it’s a good idea to create innovative PWAs that can better engage your users.

PWAs build on contemporary website/app methods to give users the very best mobile experience. Nowadays, businesses are focusing on the advantages of developing PWAs as well as the resources used to build these apps.

A Beginner’s Guide to Progressive Web Apps

  • What are progressive web apps?
  • PWAs have several benefits over mobile apps
  • PWAs also expand on website attributes
  • Several companies have already adopted PWA technology
  • What are common PWA development tools?
  • What are the technical elements of a PWA?

What Are Progressive Web Apps?

A PWA (also known as a progressive Internet program) is a type of web app that has a few extra features geared toward producing an exemplary user experience. It's an ideal mixture of the mobile and desktop application experiences.

On the desktop side, a PWA loads instantly regardless of network connections because it’s an app developed similarly to a website.

Every Internet app is built upon layers of abstraction. The minimal enhancement to make a website is HTML. Likewise, you can develop a PWA exclusively through HTML to ensure that users with a bad connection or an older smartphone will have a seamless experience.

On the mobile side, the program resembles a native app solution, so it is only natural that it has the mobile user experience in mind. They differ from accelerated mobile pages (AMP) for several reasons:

amp vs pwa

Source

Unlike AMPs, PWAs deliver advanced platform features and are highly dynamic. However, they’re slower upon first delivery and aren’t as easily embedded.

PWAs Have Several Benefits Over Mobile Apps

PWAs differ from normal web programs thanks to their unique program shell approach. This affords them a wide range of benefits that surpass mobile apps.

1. They Function Like Native Apps

PWAs may use nearly all of the native device’s attributes economically without relying upon an Internet browser. On top of that, they feature responsive web designs to enhance a mobile user’s experience.

To give a rundown, usable native features include:

  • Total screen display
  • Splash display
  • Push notifications
  • Push alarms

However, they can’t access a mobile user’s contact information nor hardware detectors.

2. They Have App Icons

Users can easily keep a program icon on their device’s home display, making the program readily accessible. This also helps the brand stay on the top of their user’s minds and enhances the odds of interaction.

3. They Take Up Less Device Space Than Traditional Apps

Unlike mobile apps that have to be downloaded, PWAs don’t require much space on the user’s device since it's hosted on a web server. If users wish to install your application on the home screen, it still won't require storage or regular updates.

4. They Update Themselves Independently

To extend the previous point, these programs are updated independently. The end user doesn’t need to visit the App Store or other similar programs to download the upgrade and wait until it's installed.

PWAs Also Expand on Website Attributes        

If you want to convert your website to a PWA, then consider these benefits.

1. They Work on Virtually Any Device

In the business world, mobile-friendly alternatives to desktop sites are now expected no matter how niche an industry is. That’s why PWAs are so convenient. They can work equally well on almost any device, whether it is a smart phone, a PC desktop, or a tablet computer.

2. Users Can Access PWAs With a URL Rather Than Downloading Them

Even though PWAs act like native apps, they’re still websites that are stored on an Internet server. New users do not have to go to an app store to download the PWA, which reduces the number of steps necessary to set up and use the program. They just need the URL address.

3. Users Can Easily Share PWAs by Sending a URL

Building off of that, users can conveniently share PWAs with each other by sending the URL. This can help spread brand awareness faster.

4. PWAs Benefit From SEO Tactics

PWAs live in web browsers, which means greater opportunities to maximize their search engine optimization (SEO) standards and enhance Google positions. By implementing SEO techniques, you can drive more visibility to your PWA.

Several Companies Have Already Adopted PWA Technology

PWAs will replace native mobile apps, and they’ve revolutionized businesses across multiple industries around the world.

There are many businesses have increase their revenue and engagement after implementing a PWA solution.

companies who have adopted pwa technology

Source

Some of the most well-known companies with PWAs are:

  • BookMyShow
  • Uber
  • Twitter Lite
  • Pinterest
  • Forbes
  • Alibaba
  • Olx

These companies are just the beginning. We can expect to see more businesses adopt PWAs as the technology matures.

What Are Common PWA Development Tools?

Because PWAs are essentially enhanced websites, their development tools include some familiar frameworks and other new solutions.

1. Knockout

Knockout is a free JavaScript tool that helps developers build responsive displays. If there are scenarios when the user interface (UI) of your program should be changed dynamically, Knockout makes this process simpler for technicians.

2. PowerBuilder

PowerBuilder is another instrument that may be utilized with a ready-made web solution. At first, a programmer produces a manifest — which is a blog of metadata — adding the website's title, its description, and an icon to use.

And there are more details that you can change according to your tastes such as the screen orientation of your PWA, its terminology, and color.

This could be made directly on the PowerBuilder site.

3. AngularJS (React, Polymer)

AngularJS is a JavaScript (JS) framework for building web applications from scratch. The most recent variant provides technicians with the same atmosphere for both desktop and mobile solutions.

React and Polymer are simpler technologies but also popular among developers. React is a JS library that was initially created for UI development.

4. Webpack

Webpack is used to collect all of your JS resources in one place, even if it is non-coding data. This is one of the most effective tools to construct the sites frontend.

For PWAs, Webpack makes it possible for developers to utilize two plug-ins that generate the service employee and manifest. Both of these characteristics are essential for almost any PWA merchandise.

What is more significant, Webpack is used with complex projects and can handle any difficulties.

5. PWA.rocks

Lastly, PWA.rocks is an inspirational resource utilized by both developers and entrepreneurs alike. Here, you can find a lot of innovative web app illustrations and see exactly how the final PWA looks and how it works.

6. Web App Manifest

To check how your PWA is working, you can use a tool like the Web App Manifest to better understand you program. That includes the appearance of dwelling screen icons, display orientation, and how a page ought to be loaded first.

What are the Technical Elements of a PWA?

PWA has some significant technical elements that work together to surpass a standard app. They can be constructed with any architectural design (SSR, CSR, or even a hybrid of both), but different use cases can require subtle modifications in the way you construct your application structure.

It might be a good idea to check out instant loading web programs with an application shell architecture. These supply an in-depth description of the subsequent patterns, which are known conventions for constructing PWAs.

To break it down, the following elements are some of the basic elements needed to develop a great PWA:

technical elements of pwa

Google

Besides the page and network, there are other elements that make up a PWA.

1. Service Worker

A service worker is only a part of a JS code that works as a proxy between the browser and the community. A service worker manages the push notifications and helps to construct the offline net application with the browser cache API.

This can accelerate the operation of your app, regardless of whether the device is connected to the internet or not. The programmer has full control over the behavior of the app and how it should react in various scenarios. The service worker has its lifecycle events.

2. The Manifest File

The manifest file is a configured JSON file that contains your program’s information, such as the icon to be displayed on the home screen when installed, the brief title of this program, background color, and motif.

3. HTTPS

Service employees can intercept community requests and modify the answers. Service employees perform all of the actions on the customer side. Therefore, PWAs require secure protocol HTTPS.

4. Demo Time

Nowadays, there are lots of PWAs available on the market. If you would like to play around with a PWA and want to see service employees in action, see fidget spin.xyz and change to the Program tab at Chrome's Dev Tools.

5. Cache

This segment shows all documents that are stored in the cache from the support worker.

6. Push & Sync

All of these sections are used during development to test push notifications and background sync.

An application shell (SSR equally shell and articles for entrance page) uses JavaScript to draw content for any further paths and performs a takeover.

A program shell (SSR) uses JavaScript to bring content. When the program shell is loaded, SSR is discretionary. Your shell is very likely to be highly inactive, but SSR sometimes provides slightly better performance.

7. Lighthouse

Lighthouse is an audit application that can run contrary to any web page, public or personal. It creates one report with the checklist of items needed to create a PWA. This can be used through the development of your PWA to crosscheck tasks and find further ways to improve the user experience.

8. Workbox

Workbox is a collection of open-source libraries by Google. It can be used to create the support employee file. Workbox also comes combined with different caching strategies of graphics and other resources.

PWAs Are the Wave of the Future

PWAs hold several advantages over mobile apps and web pages. Because of their unique architecture, they can leverage a device’s native functionality while still behaving like a website.

They also take up less space on a user’s device since they’re hosted on a web server, but they’re designed to work in offline environments. That’s probably why more and more businesses are adopting PWAs.

It’s clear that PWAs are here to stay. If you’re a growing businesses, you might want to consider investing in a PWA rather than a mobile-optimized site.

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