What is PWA?
Progressive web applications were introduced by Google to create faster loading web applications that could perform efficiently. PWAs are basically websites that utilize the recent web standards for the installation of users’ computers or mobile devices while offering an app-like experience. These fast-loading applications work offline using the cache data that was saved during your last online session on the app. When a user is on the desktop using the Chrome web browser, there will be an alert that asks to download the app (when certain flags are turned on).
PWAs offer enhanced user experience which implies that businesses should look forward to adopting the technology carefully wherever it can make a difference. Using these quick-to-load applications, your customers can easily access content while enjoying a seamless experience. That said, these responsive websites are dependent on the users’ browser features. The users feel like they are using a native app when the in-built features enhance the look and feel of the web application.
Elementary components of a PWA are:
Web App Manifest: To build native app-like features such as the app icon.
Service Worker(s): To run background processes and get offline support.
Application Shell Architecture: To swiftly load the application using service workers.
If you are wondering about how you never got your hands on a PWA, you might want to recall the times when you visited Alibaba, Forbes, or MakeMyTrip. Yes, you are right. These are all PWAs and look how smooth they run.
How PWAs Are Better Than Native Apps?
A native application is a self-contained program application that resides in your computer system or mobile device. It runs like any other program that you run on your computer systems such as Microsoft Word. On the other hand, PWA refers to a website that performs like a mobile application. It runs like any other program that requires a web browser such as Google Docs. This is the fundamental difference between a PWA and a native app. Let us look at more differentiating pointers between the two:
Unlike traditional applications, progressive web applications are not restricted to a single platform or browser. PWAs can run on as many platforms or web browsers as possible without any performance issues. This progressive enhancement makes PWAs better than native applications that lack this capability of running on multiple platforms.
Users across the globe have a plethora of smart devices including smartphones, tablets, iPads, laptops, desktops, etc. This suggests that they open applications on different screen sizes and resolutions. So, applications must be responsive to adapt to the varying screen sizes of all devices available in the market. PWAs are responsive and can be opened on any device without any usability issues, thus, offering a seamless experience on all devices.
No website works when there is no internet. While most of the native apps might allow users to run the application with limited or no internet connectivity, PWAs are capable of running offline. The app data is cached beforehand through the service worker.
PWAs are app-like and this app-like structure needs to be maintained to distinguish PWAs from regular websites. A website must include engaging features to be considered as a PWA. There must be interactive buttons or call-to-action that makes the user think of it as a native app.
Why Do We Need PWAs?
As mentioned earlier, PWAs load faster than any other applications or websites and enhance the user experience by manifold. Having said that, we cannot ignore other important aspects that make PWAs even more important in today’s tech landscape:
Fast Speed, Better Performance
Right from downloading the app to every time the users use it, PWAs load swiftly without having the customers to wait. PWAs instantly connect with the internet when online and they can also continue running without the internet with the help of cached data.
Unlike other applications or websites, PWAs allow users to use certain functionalities even when there is a network connection error. This implies you can rely on PWAs while you are working on something important.
PWAs offer integrated, seamless, and memorable experience because of responsive designing, push notifications, and easy access to the device’s features and functionalities. With the help of push notifications, users can be kept engaged, thus, boosting the brands’ user engagement rates.
Safer & More Secure
PWAs keep the performance and security intact while offering familiarity in the user interface. Security is one of the biggest concerns in today’s heavily connected world where you are always at the risk of losing important information to hackers. With PWAs, you do not have to worry about such issues as they use HTTPs to run.
For any application to perform efficiently as per the changing needs of the customers, it needs to be improved, updated, and upgraded periodically. PWAs do not require users to approve any updates themselves, instead, the developers can push the changes remotely to the application.
More Flexible & Compatible
Most of the applications need to be updated regularly. This becomes challenging when certain updates are not compatible with specific devices or the devices have less storage space to download huge updates time and again. PWAs have no such concerns because the application runs via a web browser in the form of an interactive website. Since it is not any downloadable file, which resolves the compatibility and storage space issue at the same time. Moreover, users do not require to download any updates because PWAs are updated automatically and these updates are reflected whenever the user visits the website next.
Progressive web applications are disrupting the web app market for good. With better performing web apps, businesses can overcome mobile app challenges. Undoubtedly, the next big step in making tech interactions more usable is the Progressive Web Applications. With this technology taking over at such a rapid pace, it will be beneficial for businesses that become the early adopters.
So, what are you thinking of?
Get in touch with us to know more about PWAs and how you can get the best of it for your business.