Progressive Web Apps are Web Apps which combines the best features of Web and Native Apps. It is progressive because it is constantly progressing.
Why Progressive Web Apps?
Now let’s talk about the “WHY”. Why Frances Berriman and Alex Russell came up with a concept called Progressive Web Apps? Before that let’s understand what problems does it solve.
Problems with Native Apps?
We all have used Android or iOS apps on our smartphones. We use them for all kinds of thing. But while installing any Android/iOS apps we go through these problems :
Is this app worth downloading?
Do I have enough space?
My available data is not sufficient.
One recent survey shows that people are turning away from Android/iOS apps, because not all app experiences are satisfying or worthwhile. Some people simply don’t want any more apps on their phone, some even hesitate to download any app.
If you take a look at the apps installed on your mobile right now there might be at least a dozen apps that you do not use regularly. Sometimes apps only works good when the phone has an active internet connection.
The irony is that most of the apps have a fully responsive website performing the same functions. So why waste your precious disk space and your internet data on your smartphone by installing the native app? The average size of apps that we install from play store/app stores would range from 30–200MB. Moreover, these app needs to updated every week! But Progressive Web Apps are within some KBs and are automatically updated. Thanks to service worker.
What if a website can do that and much more than a Native app? This is what Progressive Web Apps (PWA) are trying to accomplish. Progressive web apps combine everything that is great about a native mobile application with everything that is great about a mobile website.
Features of PWAs:
Progressive — The word progressive means it works for every user, regardless of browser choice because they’re built with progressive enhancement as a core tenet.
Responsive — Automatically adjustable to any form: desktop, mobile, tablet etc.
Load Time — Progressive Web Apps are instantly available
App-like — Feels like a mobile app with app-style interactions since it’s built on the app shell model.
Fresh — Always up-to-date so you do not need to update it again and again like any other Android/iOS apps.
Safe — Served via HTTPS to ensure content is securely delivered
Engaging — Features like push notifications, etc. makes it very engaging.
Installable — Allows users to install the website as an app on their home screen without the taking user to an app store.
Linkable — Easily shared via a URL and do not require complex installation.
Benefits of making a Progressive Web App rather than building a fully functional Android App?
Cost Effective — For an app publisher, the biggest advantage is the cost saving in terms of app development and maintenance. Because it is assumed that making a website is lot more easier than making a Android App.
Cross Platform — Unlike any other apps, Progressive Web Apps are not restricted to any specific platform. That means you do not need to develop separate versions of app for different platforms.