• Rahul Vijh

Progressive Web Applications (PWA) - Best Fit for Lite Apps Over Native Apps


As technological developments spread from one part of the world to another, the internet inevitably follows suit. In a world where 66% of the population is carrying a mobile phone, a mobile presence is a must for any individual who seeks success on the internet. In this context, a million-dollar question arises -- how to target mobile and desktop users similarly without building and maintaining a mobile app (for iOS, Android, etc.) and a responsive website at the same time?


In recent years, the Progressive Web Applications (PWAs) trend has been the best thing to happen to the web community. In contrast to native applications, progressive web applications are a hybrid of standard web pages (or sites) and a mobile application. This new application model endeavors to consolidate highlights offered by most current browsers with the advantages of improved mobile experience.


Mobile traffic is at its all-time high and is continuing to expand – which is the reason companies like Google are focusing more on improving the mobile user experience. To further enhance the quality of mobile user experience, Google presented Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) at the Chrome Dev Summit in 2015. It was a stage towards upgrading traditional sites and mobile applications.


Why Build A PWA?


For some organizations, particularly for the applications intended for internal use, the expense of creating, testing, and keeping up applications for a few stages is irrational. It was predicted that one year from now, up to 20% of organizations will forsake their native mobile applications. All things considered, they accept that PWA is ultimately a more suitable option.


Progressive Web Apps permit the developers to enhance user experiences that rival native applications provide without having development teams and distributing binaries and updates. PWA innovations are supported by the enormous hitters: Google and Microsoft. All Android gadgets are PWA viable and Microsoft is building a few of its cutting edge applications like Outlook and Teams as PWA. Apple is additionally carrying out support, which will dispatch in Safari 11.1 and iOS 11.3. Even though Progressive Web Apps expand on new advancements, they are as of now broadly used in the business. PWA working examples include:


Forbes Pinterest

The Washington Post Treebo

Starbucks Tinder

Uber Jumia

Make My Trip Trivago

Flipkart Twitter

Snapdeal OLX

CNN Target

Ali Express Walmart

Medium Airbnb

Wired Telegram

Instagram Shine

The Guardian


Three Pillars of PWA


1. Reliability: A Progressive Web App feels quick and reliable regardless of the network. Speed is critical for clients’ user experience. Truth be told, as page load times go from 1 second to 10 seconds, the likelihood of a user closing the page increases by 123%. Performance doesn't stop after the onload event as the customers don’t think about whether their interaction was enrolled or not. Scrolling and animation should feel smooth as performance influences the whole experience, from how clients see the application to how it really performs.


At last, dependable applications should be usable regardless of network connections. Clients expect applications to fasten upon slow or flaky network connections or when offline. They expect the latest content they've interacted with to be accessible and usable regardless of whether getting a request to the server is hard. At the point when a request is beyond the realm of imagination, they expect to be told that there's an inconvenience rather than quietly failing or crashing. Clients love applications that react to cooperation in a split second, and an experience they can rely upon.


2. Capability: The web is very proficient by its own doing today. The user can construct a hyper-local video chat application utilizing WebRTC, geolocation, and push up notifications. He can make that application easy to install and have virtual discussions with WebGL and WebVR.


With the introduction of Web Assembly, designers can take advantage of different ecosystems, similar to C, C++, and Rust, and bring many years of work and abilities to the web as well. Squoosh app, for example, uses this for its high-level image compression. As of now, just platform-specific applications could truly make a case for these capabilities. While a few capabilities are still out of the web's reach, new and forthcoming Application Performing Interfaces (APIs) are hoping to change -- how the web can manage highlights like file framework access, media controls, application badging, and full clipboard support. These capacities are built with the web's protected, client-driven consent model, guaranteeing that going to a website is never a scary recommendation for users.

Between the present day Application Performing Interfaces (APIs), Web Assembly, and new and impending APIs, web applications are more proficient than any other time, and those capabilities are only growing.


3. Installability: Installed Progressive Web Apps run in an independent window and not in a browser tab. They're launchable from the client's home screen, dock, taskbar, or shelf. It's feasible to look for them on a gadget and jump between them with the application switcher, causing them to feel like a piece of the gadget they're installed in. New capabilities open up after the installment of a web application. Keyboard shortcuts, generally saved when running in the program, become accessible.


Technical Components of PWA

  1. The Web App Manifest - The Web App manifest, a JSON document — is the main segment giving the progressive its native application interface appearance. With the manifest, a developer handles the way the application appears to the client and how it launches. The document permits the developer to track down a unified spot for the web application's metadata. The manifest for the most part contains the starting URL, an application's full and short name, connections to links, and links' sizes, type, and area. The developer can likewise characterize a splash screen and a theme color for the address bar. To apply these settings, the developer just needs to add a solitary connection to the manifest in all site page headers.

  2. Service Worker: A service worker is another technical component backing up one of the principal highlights of progressive web applications — the offline work mode, background sync, and push up notifications mainly for native applications. The service worker is a JavaScript record running independently of the website page/application and reacts to the user's interactions with the application, including network demands produced using the pages it serves. Since the service worker deals with a particular event, its lifetime is short.

  3. Add Home Screen: The user can add the web application to their home screen without downloading and install it from the application store. From here, they can open the application directly from their home screen without the need to open it in a tab, for example, Chrome or Opera. Likewise, the application can be used in a full-screen mode which provides a far superior user experience.

  4. Background Sync: The application can be refreshed in a background framework when not in use. It is helpful and valuable, particularly in places where one’s web connection is moderate or poor. Later, waiting time for the necessary information becomes fundamentally more limited and then the user only needs an already downloaded application.

  5. Offline Caching: Even when the user is offline, a site permits him to enjoy a few functionalities. They can utilize it without an internet connection and that is actually why PWAs bring client experience to a more significant level than conventional sites.

  6. Push Notifications: Push notifications to increase client engagement, making the communication between the content supplier and client more significant.

Comparison (Native App, Web App, Progressive Web App (PWA))

Conclusion

At their heart, Progressive Web Apps are simply web applications. Utilizing progressive upgrades, new abilities are empowered in modern browsers and by incorporating service workers and a web application, the user’s web application becomes solid and easy to install. The numbers never lie! Organizations that have launched Progressive Web Apps have seen great outcomes -- Twitter saw a 65% increment in pages per meeting, 75% more tweets, and a 20% abatement in bounce rate, all while diminishing the size of their application by more than 97%. In the wake of changing to a PWA, Nikkei saw 2.3 times more natural traffic, 58% more memberships, and 49% all the more everyday users. Hulu supplanted their platform-specific desktop experience with a Progressive Web App and saw a 27% expansion in consequent visits.


The incredible thing about PWA is that even though all the browsers don't uphold the fundamental technology, users will be able to carry them out without stress and get an incredible improved experience.


Truth be told, organizations like Alibaba, have shown that by focussing their efforts just on a PWA application as opposed to having separate native applications, expands changes and normal purchases.


References

  1. https://web.dev/what-are-pwas/

  2. https://vaadin.com/pwa

  3. https://www.onely.com/blog/what-are-progressive-web-apps/

  4. https://www.biznessapps.com/blog/progressive-web-apps/

  5. https://brainhub.eu/library/is-pwa-the-future/#:~:text=Progressive%20Web%20Apps%20seem%20to,the%20 functionality%20of%20native%20apps.

  6. https://www.appschopper.com/blog/best-tools-technologies-leverage-progressive-web-app-pwa-development/

  7. https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Web/Progressive_web_apps

  8. https://www.mobiloud.com/blog/progressive-web-app-examples

  9. https://web.dev/progressive-web-apps/

  10. https://developers.google.com/web/ilt/pwa/introduction-to-progressive-web-app-architectures

  11. https://www.altexsoft.com/blog/engineering/progressive-web-apps/

  12. https://medium.com/@deepusnath/4-points-to-keep-in-mind-before-introducing-progressive-web-apps-pwa-to-your-team-8dc66bcf6011

Rahul is a seasoned IP Professional with 10 years of experience working closely with senior litigators on patent infringement and trade secret misappropriation. Rahul has a Bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering from Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi and is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP). He has advised clients on more than 100 technology cases cumulatively resulting in over $1 billion in settlements and verdicts, including cases where he has testified at deposition or through expert reports.


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Keywords: pwa, progressive web application, web application, lite apps, web based applications, browser based applications, api, software applications