We all have been hearing the term progressive web app a lot lately. In this article, we will explain what PWAs are (Progressive Web Apps) and how they differ from traditional apps developed using custom application development services.
Let’s consider the number of quotes made regarding this new way of processing applications and the commotion they are generating. We should find ourselves facing a kind of revolution in the modern app world.
Are PWAs part of a fad, or are they the future of app development?
Let’s start with the fundamental difference between a native app (the traditional apps) and a web app.
What is a native app?
Simply put, a native application is an application that has been specifically developed by a web application development service provider and designed to work on the operating system in which it is downloaded. For instance, iOS on iPhones and Android on almost all other smartphone models.
Now, don’t get confused about customization layers with the operating systems. Many smartphone manufacturers like Xiaomi or Samsung use Android customizations to make their devices more “authentic,” but the operating system is still an Android OS. The only thing that changes with the customizations is the appearance and some configurations, but the OS remains the same.
In most cases, native apps work better than web apps since they are built to run on the system you downloaded them from and, therefore, should offer a smoother and more seamless experience.
The history of web applications
When it comes to web applications, they predate native application development. There is also another method known as hybrid development, and this modality comprises web applications designed to run on smartphones that become native through a wrapper such as Apache Cordova.
Albeit, nowadays, it is hard to believe, since almost 100% of the applications you use on your smartphones are native, this was not the original idea.
When iPhone launched its first terminal a decade earlier, paving the way for other devices, the app approach comprised most web-based applications anchored via direct access to the home screen. Native app development appeared a year later.
However, the current reality is very different; few people use web-based applications pinned to the main screen. Among the several reasons that have led to this scenario include:
- Less agility on the part of web applications.
- Its capabilities lack several features that native applications do have: sending notifications, offline operations, or local data storage.
However, all these differences can be fixed, and the custom application development services providers are working to bridge them.
What is a PWA or Progressive Web App?
According to Google, a PWA uses state-of-the-art browser technology to offer a mobile experience equal to that provided by a native app, with the advantage that you do not require to download any content to your device. A lot of businesses want to bet on such types of applications that were previously forgotten under the following premises:
- PAWs offer the highest possible performance with an instant load.
- They also have an offline mode
- , and they can easily send notifications.
- An aspect and interface are as similar as possible to a native application.
If you use an Android-based smartphone updated to its latest version, you can check that many of these premises are met while accessing Facebook through the browser (chrome). The appearance, performance, and notification sending are practically identical to the official (native) application that can be downloaded from the Google Play Store.
Undoubtedly, it’s an excellent decision to use Facebook through the browser since it is widely known that the native Facebook app takes up a lot of space on your device. In addition, it also slows down its operation and consumes a significant amount of mobile data.
Technologies Leveraging PWAs
To achieve such kind of performance, progressive web apps are based on the following concepts:
- Responsive Web Design, CSS animations, and specific frameworks.
- Service Workers.
- Application manifest.
Advantages of Progressive Web Applications
One of the significant advantages of PWAs is that they do not require installation, eliminating the need to use storage space on our devices. Perhaps it is not an issue on a computer, but we are convinced that it is on your smartphone. Many users are already tired of being forced to delete native apps because of memory constraints.
The only negative point would be the requirement to be constantly connected. However, such problems also appear with native applications since countless applications do not load new content without an active Internet connection. Even if it’s a disadvantage, it is certainly not compared to native applications.
PAWs do not depend on the power or model of your smartphone to charge quickly or not. Therefore, they provide higher upload speeds based on your Internet connection speed.
Progressive web app developed by web application development service providers offers the possibility of receiving push notifications directly to your smartphone.
When it comes to appearance, a full-screen mode is already being developed (the borders of the browser disappearing), so its appearance would be identical to that of native applications.
Progressive web applications can be easily used on any operating system simply by opening the browser.
The version of the PWAs is always the most current, which does not happen with native applications.
In recent times, the hype about PWAs has grown a lot. However, it is not a new concept at all; its journey has been going on for more than a decade, albeit perhaps its takeoff is about to begin.
Undoubtedly, at the business level, the trend is beginning to tip the balance toward using PWAs, since it is rumored that native apps at Microsoft have their days numbered. When it comes to companies like Google, with its great little Android, it also wants to continue down the path of advanced web applications.