Progressive Web Apps and their Advantages
Many people don’t even know that a lot of the popular everyday use apps are actually Progressive Web Apps.
In order to bring about the native app-like experience for the users within cross-platform web applications, Progressive Web Apps are used. These web applications use evolving web browser features and APIs together with classical progressive enhancement strategies. PWAs are effective design patterns, although they do not follow a standard or formal structure. They can be considered similar to AJAX or other similar patterns that involve a set of application parameters, including the usage of definite web techniques and technologies. Here we will talk about their features and their advantages.
What is a Progressive Web App?
To call a Web App, a PWA must possess the below attributes:
- Secure contexts
- Service workers
- A manifest file
It is very important to serve the web application via a secured network. In the world of cybercrimes today, maintaining a secured site is not only compliance with the website’s best practices, but it also portrays your online application as a secured site mainly for users who are willing to make transactions within a secured environment. Most features pertaining to a PWA, like geographical location and service workers, are made available only if the application has been incorporated with HTTPS (secured HTTP).
A service worker is a code that allows intervention and authority over the manner in which a web browser handles its network requests and asset caching. Using service workers, it’s possible for developers to create reliably rapid loading web pages and enhanced experiences for offline modes or features.
This manifest file is a JSON file that controls how the application is seen by the users. It also assures that the PWAs are discoverable while describing the name of the app, start URL, icons, and all the other attributes necessary to convert the website into an app-friendly structure.
Advantages of Progressive Web Apps
Every Progressive Web App must have certain advantages, mainly the ones detailed below:
The ultimate objective of implementing web applications is to have a better representation within search engines, be simpler and convenient to highlight, categorize and rank, and have metadata available to be used by browsers to give them specific abilities. Usually, certain capabilities are by default enabled on certain web-based applications by proprietary technologies, which makes available a format for identifying similar metadata in HTML <head> with the help of meta tags.
The web standard at this point is the Web App Manifest, which determines app features such as name, splash screen, icon, and colors of the theme in the manifest file of the JSON format. This is done for usage in app listings, home screens of devices, and other similar contexts.
One of the main components of web application experience is to have app icons for users on their home screen and be capable of opening apps into their native containers that feel smoothly integrated within the underlying platform. In modern times, web apps usually have this native app feel through features set within the Web App Manifest, and through a feature available in the latest browsers within smartphones called “Add to home screen”.
A powerful feature of the PWA is its capability to link to an app at a given URL. It does not require an app store, neither does it demand any complicated installation procedure.
Latest web applications are capable of working even when the network may be non-reliable, or even non-existing. Multiple reasons empower apps to have network independence capability:
- To enable a revisit to a given site and get its materials, even at times of network unavailability;
- To be able to browse any content that the user has visited earlier (at least once), even though the connectivity may be poor;
- To be able to control what is viewed by the user in situations where no connectivity exists.
All these are achieved through a combination of multiple technologies. These include:
- Service Workers — they control page requests (i.e. storing them offline);
- Cache API — they store responses to network requests offline (these are handy when storing assets of the site), and
- Client-side data storage technologies — These include Web Storage and IndexedDB where application data is stored offline.
Recent web apps can be coded to ensure an amazing experience to completely empower browsers. They can also provide a decent experience within older versions of several browsers. This has been done for a long time with best practices namely progressive enhancements.
A great advantage of using native platforms is the convenience with which users are re-engaged through updates and the latest content, although they need not be using the app or their devices. Modern web applications are capable of incorporating this feature as well, through new technologies like Service Workers for controlling pages, Web Push API to send updates right from the server to the app using a service worker, and the Notifications API for producing notifications from the system in order to engage users when not using the browser.
Responsive web apps use technologies such as media queries and viewport to ensure that the User Interfaces fit any form factor: either a desktop, or a mobile, tablet, or any other device.
Web platforms provide a secured mechanism of delivery which helps to avoid snooping, apart from ensuring that the content has not been adulterated — using HTTPS and developing secured apps. Furthermore, it’s possible to verify the original features of a PWA by approving that its URL is correct, while apps in app stores can at times be quite different in functionalities than what they appear.
In summary PWAs make the most use of latest technologies and create a combination of the best web and mobile apps. They have contributed to a great deal in the enhancement of user experience over mobile web applications. They are constructed and developed with modern APIs to deliver classical capabilities, reliability, and installability while reaching any person, in any part of the globe, on any smart device using a single codebase. Many people don’t even know that a lot of the popular everyday use apps are actually Progressive Web Apps. Some common examples of PWAs: Instagram, Telegram, Pinterest, Tinder, Google Maps, Starbucks and so on.
Hope this article was helpful and understandable. Be sure to leave your feedback about your understanding or any topic that you want me to write about in the coming days. Happy learning!
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