Progressive Web App PWA: pros and cons, examples

What are the Progressive Web App PWA?

A Progressive Web App (PWA) is an app that uses modern Web capabilities to offer users a very similar (if not better) experience to a native app. Unlike traditional apps, progressive web apps are a hybrid between regular web pages and mobile applications. The term “progressive” refers to the fact that they introduce new features and, from the user experience’s point of view, they are initially perceived as normal websites but progressively behave more like mobile apps, among other things multiplatform.

Pros and cons of the Progressive Web App

The main features are: Progressive — They work for every user, regardless of the browser chosen because they are built at the base with progressive improvement principles.

Responsive — They adapt to the various screen sizes: desktop, mobile, tablet, or dimensions that can later become available.

App-like — They behave with the user as if they were native apps, in terms of interaction and navigation. Updated — Information is always up-to-date thanks to the data update process offered by service workers.

Secure — Exposed over HTTPS protocol to prevent the connection from displaying information or altering the contents.

Searchable — They are identified as “applications” and are indexed by search engines.

Reactivable — Make it easy to reactivate the application thanks to capabilities such as web notifications.

Installable — They allow the user to “save” the apps that he considers most useful with the corresponding icon on the screen of his mobile terminal (home screen) without having to face all the steps and problems related to the use of the app store.

Linkable — Easily shared via URL without complex installations.

Offline — Once more it is about putting the user before everything, avoiding the usual error message in case of weak or no connection. The PWA are based on two particularities: first of all the ‘skeleton’ of the app, which recalls the page structure, even if its contents do not respond and its elements include the header, the page layout, as well as an illustration that signals that the page is loading.

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What are the most used technologies for PWA?

There are several technologies for the creation of a Progressive Web App, mainly based on JavaScript, with different characteristics. Among the main we have:

React
A powerful JavaScript library for building dynamic and modern user interfaces

Polymer
A combination of components, tools and models designed to create PWA

Angular A JavaScript framework for creating dynamic web applications that uses HTML as a template language

Ionic
A JavaScript framework for creating powerful applications for multiple platforms using a basic code

How to choose between a PWA or a native solution

The moment of choice comes, what solution to adopt?

It is preferable to choose the development of a PWA when:

On the contrary, it is preferable to develop a native app when:

The differences in the installation process: PWA vs native app

The general process of installing native apps follows this flow:
In the comparison, the PWA installation includes:

The main examples of a Progressive Web App

Pinterest

Instagram


The current PWA is very similar to the native app and has all the main interaction features, from notifications to the ability to view Stories.

Tinder

So is the future “progressive”?

The answer is, as always, depends. The decision to develop a PWA follows analysis and reflections that must be done from time to time, from project to project, from user to user. On the contrary, we could add a further complexity: that of positioning on the search engine: have we managed everything correctly or are we cannibalizing the traffic on our website?

The factors that lead to the choice are many, as anticipated in this study, so there is not a defined and standard recipe but the one that gives the context fits correctly with strategy and objectives.

Source: Medium.com
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