PWA – The Progressive Web Application

progressive web application

PWA – Progressive Web Application, is a new buzz word swinging in IT-World, It started back in 2015 at Google and it was said that “by 2020 it would replace 50% of consumer facing apps” which is now becoming real thing.

PWA apps are promising solution for businesses that takes advantage of the power of both regular websites and apps for mobile phones to create a better user experience.

What is PWA?

As per wikipedia -“Progressive Web App (PWA) is a term used to denote a new software development methodology. Unlike traditional applications, progressive web apps are a hybrid of regular web pages (or websites) and a mobile application. This new application model attempts to combine features offered by most modern browsers with the benefits of mobile experience.”

You can consider it as a hybrid child of website and a mobile application which has properties of both from user experience and functionality standpoint. It starts with normal web page in the browser window but feels like you are navigating to an application home screen, it just prompt user to add it to his browser home screen once added it will get installed/copied at browser’s home and will available to use as an application.

Many popular sites are actually a progressive web app. For an example like “twitter.com” or “facebook.com”. If you visit this site on your Smartphone, you can get it on your home screen. Now, on opening the saved sites, you’ll notice that it looks and performs just like a native app.

What are the advantages of PWA?

You may be surprised to know that “40% of users close the website that takes more than 3 seconds to load” – PWA is a solution for that.

• You need not have to search for application into different app stores
• PWA apps can be developed using common web technologies like CSS, HTML, JavaScript and some more.
• Easy and cheaper to build – since you are only revolving your site into an application.
• PWAs are responsive and can automatically adjusted according to different screen sizes
• PWAs are smooth, fast and lightweight and can use push notifications to re-engage users
•No need to pay to native stores.
• They work offline, unlike your regular site
• PWAs are discoverable via search engines – give it a upper hand to have a lot larger audience than app stores. also if you want you can still get your PWAs distributed via app stores
• Installing a PWA can lead to higher and longer user engagement

How to build PWA application?

PWA application can be easily setup – the three building blocks of PWA applications which turn a site into a valid PWA.

A service worker : A service worker is a piece of script that runs in the background. It helps you determine how to handle user requests for your PWA, making it possible to do more complex work in background like reliable and intelligent caching, background content updating, push notifications and the most importantly offline functionality on already visited part of the website, which means that, after the first visit to a website, the site and app will be reliably fast even on unstable networks.

A secure connection (HTTPS) : PWA apps only work on trusted connections; you have to serve them over a secure connection. This is good for security reasons, as well as from a very important trust factor stand point.

The manifest file : This JSON file contains information on how your PWA should appear and function. Here, you determine the name, description, icons, colors and the URL that should be opened when the app is launched. Manifest files are supported in Chrome, Edge, Firefox, UC Browser, Opera, and the Samsung browser, while IE and Edge don’t do that yet. Safari has partial support – it doesn’t support push messages.

What are Progressive Web Application examples?

There are several examples where different companies moved from conventional web to advanced mobile but ultimately at PWA due to low memory, high performance low bounce rate.

Flipkart – India’s largest and popular e-commerce site. They recently updated their mobile site to a Progressive Web App called Flipkart Lite.

Twitter – Twitter already rolled out its Progressive Web App “Twitter Lite” as the default mobile web experience for all users worldwide in 2017.

BookMyShow – Largest ticketing site in India, to address user bounce rate, they introduced PWA version of their website in 2017.

MakeMyTrip – Travel booking site using PWA to increase customer base, and improving the overall user experience.

Lancôme –A French luxury cosmetics brand internationally presence. Despite growing mobile users, they noticed fewer conversions now they invested in PWA.

Uber – As the company expands in new markets, its Uber web was rebuilt from scratch as a PWA to offer a comparable booking experience to the native mobile app.

There is a long list of applications and many are in progress of migrating towards Progressive Web Application.

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