Progressive Web App (PWA): what they are, pros and cons and the main examples on the market

Mar 4 · 7 min read
  • experience, to eliminate any friction in the use of software/hardware;
  • intelligence, with algorithms that now work in a predictive perspective.

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.

Pros and cons of the Progressive Web App

The main features are:

  • 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.
  • greater use of the device battery;
  • not all devices support the full range of PWA features (same speech for iOS and Android operating systems);
  • it is not possible to establish a strong re-engagement for iOS users (URL scheme, standard web notifications);
  • support for offline execution is however limited;
  • lack of presence on the stores (there is no possibility to acquire traffic from that channel);
  • there is no “body” of control (like the stores) and an approval process;
  • limited access to some hardware components of the devices;
  • little flexibility regarding “special” content for users (eg loyalty programs, loyalty, etc.).

The importance of Manifest and Service Workers

The new features of modern browsers that allow PWAs to offer the best are “manifest” and “service workers”.

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.

  • 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
  • Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)
    An open source project to improve the performance of web pages

How to choose between a PWA or a native solution

The moment of choice comes, what solution to adopt?

  • The available budget is not high
  • There is little time available for go-live
  • Proper indexing on search engines is important
  • Cross-platform compatibility is required
  • More updates are needed in a tight time
  • Speed and responsiveness are key points for the success of the app
  • The app requires an important use of the hardware features of the device
  • The business model is based, for example, on the cost per download and / or IAP (In App Purchase)
  • The app must be integrated with other third-party apps

The differences in the installation process: PWA vs native app

The general process of installing native apps follows this flow:

  • Search for the app
  • Click on “Install”
  • Acceptance of the various authorizations
  • Opening and launching the app
  • Use of the app
  • Addition to the device home screen (optional)
  • Opening of the app
  • Use of the app

The main examples of a Progressive Web App

There are already many examples of PWA “distinguished” that users use on their devices and among the main we report:

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?


IQUII is a Digital Company specializing in native mobile iOS and Android apps, Wearables & IoT, Social Media, integrated marketing and digital PR.


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IQUII is a Digital Company specializing in native mobile iOS and Android apps, Wearables & IoT, Social Media, integrated marketing and digital PR.



IQUII is a Digital Company specializing in native mobile iOS and Android apps, Wearables & IoT, Social Media, integrated marketing and digital PR.