Will Progressive Web Applications replace mobile apps?

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Over the past few years, the web apps increasingly have taken the mobile-first development approach provides users with a practical interface for their devices.

The establishment of web apps is focused on making users web experience simple, reliable, and more pleasant, regardless of the different conditions.

Web applications could be the next big thing for the mobile web. They have already attracted a lot of attention, better user experience, and ease of development.

It takes advantages of the latest technologies to combine the best of web and mobile app. It is interesting that a website is built using web technologies but it feels and acts like an progressive app.
What are PWAs?


Progressive web apps are a combination of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.They use progressive enhancement to implement caching and background sync features if the browser supports the proper APIs.

The progressive web application with browser support acts like a native application. It can be installed on users home screen, loads instantly, and even works offline. The progressive web app is a combination of features that allow you to deliver mobile-like experiences.

These apps are strongly promoted by Google. It is also quickly being adopted by big companies like Twitter. Learning how to build PWAs will give you a competitive edge because this is one of the most highly demanded skills for modern web developers.

[caption id="attachment_12862" align="aligncenter" width="700"] PWAs take benefits of the much larger web ecosystem, plugins & community and the ease of deploying and maintaining a website as compared to a native app.[/caption]
Why PWAs?
A study has shown that an app loses around 18% to 20% on an average of its users for each step between user first contact with the app and starting to use an app.

First, a user needs to find an app in app store, then download it & install it, and then finally open it for use. When a user finds your progressive web app, they can immediately start it & use it.

They can eliminate the unnecessary downloading and installation stages with PWAs. However, mobile applications with push notifications achieve more retention and a user is more likely to reopen a mobile application than a website.

A well-designed mobile application consumes lesser data and it is much faster to operate.



A progressive web app takes advantages of mobile app’s features, that result in improved user experience and performance, without the complications involved in maintaining  mobile applications.

 
Characteristics of PWAs:


It should be Progressive: A progressive web page progressively takes benefits of any characteristics available on the user’s device and browser. A PWA should work on any device.

Linkable also: To indicate the current state of the application, a well-designed website should use the uniform resource identifier. This enables the web app to retain or reload its state.

Discoverable: A progressive web app is a website, so it should be discoverable in search engines.

Responsive: A progressive web app’s UI must fit the device’s screen size.

Independent connectivity: It should work in areas of low connectivity or offline.

Installable. Making it immediately available a progressive web app can be installed on the device’s home screen.

Safe: All network requests are intercepted by service workers, so it should be built in a way that it can offer safe and secure information or services.
What makes PWAs more progressive?
Service Workers: Service workers act as proxy server between an app and a network. They make an app available for online use by caching progressive web app data on a first load.

In chrome, service worker setting also allows cache management. Properly designed PWAs with registered service workers make sure smooth navigation under such circumstances.

HTTP/2: If you will focus on the address bar of any PWA, you will see https instead of HTTP.

Because PWA uses new HTTP/2 that requires encrypted HTTPS connection. With HTTPS2, all data is transferred via TCP Protocol, which is much faster than HTTP/1.

It is a more evident image, animation-heavy websites. This is the reason online shops and business card websites create their pages as progressive web apps.

With fast data transfer, it provides an advantage to capture potential customer focus.

Push notifications: When the user opens a PWA in a mobile browser or desktop,

It is depend on them whether they want to subscribe notifications or not. If the user will choose to subscribe yes, the user receives a personal ID, which tailors their notifications to the content they view.

PWA manifest: A JSON file linked to a progressive web app’s directory which is a manifest. This file contains different settings that define the icon, font, background and theme color, splash screen design, etc.

A manifest can be configured to send a prompt to a user device to install PWA. When it is accepted, a progressive web app gets a permit to join the list of apps in the setting menu.



Cross-browsers: The most popular browsers such as Chrome, Firefox, and Opera fully support progressive web apps. Google and Microsoft have been accepting PWAs for a while now.

By the end of 2018 Windows 10 is reported to become fully compatible with PWAs. In Chrome, Google offers toolkits for making and auditing progressive web apps.

Safari: Unfortunately, PWAs are handled  as regular web apps by safari and that doesn’t allow caching, push notifications, and home screen installation.

Apple has announced in August 2017 that they are also going to support progressive web apps, and PWA server worker and manifest for Safari are already in the development process.

Conclusion

Big companies such as Apple, Google, And Microsoft are widely supporting progressive web apps. They would have successfully replaced hybrid app. PWAs are easy to create, discover, navigate, and install and will offer a new experience to both desktop and mobile users of all platforms.

Auther Bio

This post is written by Ashni Sharma. She is well experienced in mobile app development and progressive web app development services. She writes informative post for the entrepreneurs and businesses.

The above blog post is an overview of progressive web apps that will give an idea that how useful those apps can be in the future and benefits to various businesses as these apps are widely supported by the brand companies.

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