What are Progressive Web Apps?
A progressive web application (PWA) utilises the latest technologies to combine the best of web and mobile apps, but with the feel and functionality that rivals an actual native app.
Thanks to recent progress, you can turn almost any website into a progressive web app, which means you can build a PWA rather quickly, in comparison to a real app which can take longer to develop.
Plus, a PWA offers all the features of native apps, including push notifications and the ability to work offline. PWAs can eliminate a range of issues, from slow networks to lack of connectivity.
What’s the difference between a PWA and a native web app?
A native app, like those you download from Apple’s App Store or Google’s Play Store, will often be built in a programming language specific to that platform.
For iOS apps, that would be Swift and for Android apps, it would be Java. If you’re building an app for those specific platforms, you need to know the language.
Once built, the app must be reviewed by the App Store or Play Store to make sure it’s up to the standards of each platform. This process can take months.
Progressive web apps will bypass this lengthy process, because they’re just an extension of your website, just with new web features.
PWAs will run in the browser and functions like a native app once saved to the home screen. If the PWA performs well, users won’t be able to tell they are using a web app or a native app.
There is still some caution, of course. While browsers have reacted quickly to adopt the technology for this, there are some limitations.
On iOS, the technology needed can work erratically in Safari. Apple doesn’t support everything yet, making it a difficult task to achieve the same experience everywhere.
Features of a PWA
Ability to fit on any form.
- Connectivity independence
Ability to work offline if there is poor service or lack of connectivity.
- App-like interface
Uses app-like interactions and navigation.
- Background updates
Self-updates allow the PWAs to remain up to date.
Search engines are able to find PWAs.
Responsive website vs native apps vs PWA
To perform well digitally and provide a good user experience in 2021, there are several elements that your platform must consider.
Mobile-friendliness, SEO optimised and offline mode are just a few elements that your platform should really be considering in 2021.
Here’s a table that highlights how Responsive Websites, Native Apps and PWAs compare with one another.
Best progressive web apps you’ll use in 2021