Progressive Web Applications are web applications that load similar to regular websites or web pages but can offer the user functionality while they're offline, push notifications and give device hardware access traditionally available only to native applications. These Web Applications are:
- Reliable - They will load instantly and never show the downasaur, even in uncertain network conditions
- Fast - They will respond quickly to user interactions with silkily smooth animations.
- Engaging - Feel like a natural app on the device, with an immersive user experience.
A PWA (Progressive Web App) lets you install the application from the browser windows itself and if available on your phone like a native app and also works offline. It isn't as if there is some new technology or framework in place, but instead it is a set of best practices used to make a web application function similar to a desktop or mobile application. In terms of development, the future is to give the user an experience that will be so seamless that they can't tell the difference between a PWA or a native mobile app.
Progressive Web Applications will also be able to perform the same functions as it would across any devices. They do this by delivering user experiences through progressive enhancement.
Why do we need a PWA?
The best way to showcase the need for a PWA is to explain the issues we're currently facing with native apps.
- Slow Website loading time: Most people will choose to abandon a website if it is too slow, as the standard for websites is a lot higher nowadays than it used to be.
- Internet Speed: depending on where you live in the world you may only have access to a limited internet connection. If this connection/signal is very weak you'll struggle to navigate through websites.
PWAs help solve these issues and there are multiple reasons for using a progressive web app, but stated below are the top ones.
- Fast: As mentioned before PWAs provide experiences that are consistently fast. The user will go through the process of downloading an app and from that moment, to when they start interacting, everything happens extremely fast. Having the ability to cache the data means that, even without a network connection the app will start up very fast.
- User Experience: PWAs are starting to give the user the same feel and behavior of normal native apps. This is because they act by sending push notifications, have access to device's functionalities and also sit on your home screen as an app. This experience gives the user a relevant and also familiar feeling that they almost already know how it works. Ultimately, it means users will find it very similar and easy to use.
- Reliable: Using service workers, the PWA can reliably offer features that don't need a web page or user interaction such as push notifications and background sync.
- Engaging: a PWA can send notifications to a user which could really help with keeping the engagement between the app and the user. This will help users keep up to date with changes and updates.
These could begin to start changing the internet as we know it. Being able to view content and use applications offline in a way that transposes an online appearance is something delelopers havng being working towards. It's about defeating the object which is relying on the internet.
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