Progressive Web App is the Future of Digital Platforms, Thanks to Google

A easy solution to manage cross platforms…

“Every once in a while, a revolutionary product comes along that changes everything,” words from Steve Jobs in his most memorable iPhone launch.

Everyone would agree that iPhone has completely changed the world. There was a world before it and now there’s a new world of socially active connected folks who start their day with reading e-papers, use maps to reach office, order food and groceries on the way back home and end their beautiful day by sharing good night selfies. Google evangelists have brought the same ‘appyness’ to the world of websites with the PROGRESSIVE WEB APP technology.

A look into the world of Progressive Web App

Didn’t hear about it? Can’t blame you. It’s a pretty new word. Google engineer Alex Russell has introduced progressive web app technology to the world in June 2015. It all first started as tabs in Chrome and progressively became more app like.

Progressive web app uses web’s best-rated features to make websites feel more like native mobile apps. So it can be pinned to the home screen of a phone and has app like properties such as notifications and offline use, but in the nutshell it is still a web app and therefore you don’t have to download and install it from app stores. Plus progressive web app has a responsive layout, linkable with URL and is completely secure.

So how come there’s so much buzz about progressive web apps suddenly, because the Indian ecommerce giant Flipkart has revamped its website and launched it as a progressive web app. Instead of installing the FlipKart mobile app, android users can just browse Flipkart website and they will get to experience a complete mobile app like interface.

How it Works?

A progressive web app starts its journey as a regular tab powered by responsive design, service workers, and manifests. In your next visit, you get a prompt to add a shortcut to your home screen. When launched from the home screen, app blends completely into the phone environment and brings app like feel and features such as fullscreen and office mode.

Tab free appyness:

The web apps are responsive and therefore easily adapt to the form factors of all devices regardless of the browser used and follow a progressive enhancement. App shell model provides app like icons, color schemes and app style navigation and interactions and Web Manifest allows the app to be launched in full-screen mode without a URL bar and provides control over the screen orientation.

Service workers doing the excellent service:

Native apps give rich experience, but have to be installed. With Web apps, no installation is required, but connectivity is an issue and limited interaction is a bottleneck. Progressive apps combine the best of both. The Service Workers allow progressive web app to work offline and make it connectivity independent so that app can load faster even on slow networks. There’s also a splash screen like native app to hide the slow loading of home screen.

It is always updated due to the service worker’s automatic update process, no need of bug fixes and releases. The highly secured served via TLS (a Service Worker requirement) feature prevents snooping and tampering of content. Web Manifests and Service Worker registration allows search engines to find them.

Engaging and re-engaging better:

The engagement starts from the very first visit of the browser tab with App Install Banners. The installable feature adds a shortcut of the web app to the home screen based on the metadata in the Web Manifest. Tapping on shortcut loads web apps in a browser in the fullscreen mode. The re-engagement is easy with features like push notification plus it is easily sharable over a URL in this highly connected world.

Why you should care?

Now corporates doesn’t have to maintain multiple platforms to support cross devices and can save costs by maintaining a single platform using progressive web app technology. It is a win-win situation for all.

It’s great for developers as they can finally bid goodbye to the hassles of deploying, publishing and updating apps on the app stores. But for users it’s amazing with no need to burn their mobile space with app files, no more app store visits and a simple installation and updating process.

Progressive web app technology is our ticket to tab free appyness. Although still in infancy stage, it’s an exciting technology to build a mobile experience that’s progressively enhanced and doesn’t require installs or updates to exist.
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