The way we access the internet has changed. With the growth of smartphones and mobile devices, we are seeing millions of people from around the world using the internet for the first time on a mobile device. With this came the era of native apps. Apps continue to play a massive role in our daily life, we are surrounded by apps we use them(Insta, Flipkart, Teams, Whatsapp)almost everyday.But building and maintaining a native app is time consuming and often quite expensive. Fortunately, there is another option : the progressive web app (PWA). PWA combines the joys of a native app with the technology we use on the web.
What is PWA ?
Many popular sites or big tech names (Twitter, Uber, Pinterest) use this technology as it is more user friendly and provides native app like experience.
In layman terms PWAs are websites that we can install on our mobile devices or desktop devices and they provide us app like functionalities and feel.
What are the benefits of PWA and how it is different from native apps?
The main reason why everyone is chasing after PWAs is because they offer greater engagement and user friendliness and also are easier to build and requires less efforts than a native app. With push notifications it’s much easier to re-engage with users. PWAs can offer an excellent experience that can do well for a brand.
Some advantages of PWAs over native apps:-
- Downloadable from website, no need to go through the long process of app-store/play-store
- PWAs are build with common web technologies
- They are often cheaper to build and requires less time.
- Since you’re turning your site into an app, you’ll have fewer code-bases to maintain.
- PWAs are responsive and work with many different screen sizes.
- PWAs are smooth, fast and lightweight.
- No need to hand off big chunks of money to Google and Apple.
- They work offline, unlike your regular site.
- PWAs are discoverable via search engines (which have a lot larger audience than app stores. Plus, if you want you can still get your PWAs distributed via app stores)
- You can use push notifications to re-engage users
- Installing a PWA can lead to higher engagement.
Despite having numerous perks native apps have an slight edge over the PWAs
PWAs can’t do everything
Should you build PWAs?
Obviously, it depends on the business requirements if your business requirements include some functionalities that you can’t achieve without the app then there is no need of a PWA, but if you can achieve those requirements without the app PWA is the best option, easy to build and create and also requires less time and efforts for the development.
Resources for setting up PWA.
- Google has an excellent resource and tutorials for setting up PWAs.
- Mozilla has a lot of documentation on PWAs.
- Microsoft also has rich developer docs on building PWAs.
PWAs in a nutshell:
- Reliable : Fast loading and works offline.
- Fast : Smooth Animations, smooth scrolling and seamless navigation even on flaky networks.
- Engaging : Launched from home screen and can receive push notification.
We can’t say that PWA will replace Native Apps in the future. But still there is a rapid growth rate in companies opting for PWAs. PWAs are still in their infancy with a lot of challenges to be addressed. Yet, they have the potential to create a shift in the way the web and app works. Let’s see how PWAs grow with time and how much impact they will have in future.