Why Progressive Web Apps Failed to Take Off: A Look at the Challenges and Barriers

Pitis Radu
5 min readJan 3, 2023

And what can be done

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What is a PWA?

A progressive web app (PWA) is a type of web application that combines the features of a traditional web application with those of a native mobile app. It is designed to be fast, responsive, reliable, and to offer a seamless, app-like experience for users.

PWAs are built using web technologies and can be accessed from any device with a web browser. They can be installed on a user’s device, just like a native app, and offer features such as offline functionality, push notifications, and the ability to work in full-screen mode.

Despite the potential benefits of PWAs, they have not become as widely adopted as some experts had predicted. In this article I want to go more in depth and take a look at the pros and cons of this technology, so that we understand first its history.

The promise

The goal of PWAs was to provide a seamless, app-like experience for users without the need for a separate App Store or the need to download and install an app on their device. This made them more accessible and easier to use than native apps, particularly for users who may not have the space or resources to download and install multiple apps on their device. The Twitter app takes around 300MBs on my phone. By contrast, the PWA version takes around 600KBs. More here.

PWAs were also developed as a way to address some of the challenges and limitations of traditional web applications, such as slow loading times and poor performance on mobile devices. By leveraging modern web technologies and techniques, PWAs aim to provide a high-quality, app-like experience for users while maintaining the accessibility and ease of use of the web.

The implementation

This technology sounds awesome, so why doesn’t it see worldwide adoption?

One reason for this is that many businesses and developers have been slow to adopt the technology. Building a PWA requires a different approach than traditional web development, and many companies have been hesitant to invest the time and resources into learning this new way of building apps.

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Pitis Radu

Privacy advocate, writer of open-source software, entrepreneur. I work on challenging projects and I enjoy writing about them.