The term “progressive web app” is still a popular buzzword. If you still can’t draw a line between a website and a classic web app, the new term can create even more confusion. If you are already familiar with the web world and understand the difference between different types of web apps, it is high time to get to know the new app format.
In this post, we reveal what progressive web apps are, what advantages they offer and how companies are already benefiting from them today.
What distinguishes progressive web apps from traditional ones?
A progressive web app (or PWA for short) is an advanced type of web app that differs from the previous app formats by a number of improvements, namely:
Service workers can work offline
A service worker is an important part of any advanced web app that acts like a proxy server between an app, a browser and a network in the background. A service worker is also responsible for caching data from a PWA, which enables a PWA to be used offline. Saved content is synchronized as soon as the internet connection is restored. Why is that important? It’s not just about disconnecting, it’s also about a poor internet connection, which can affect the speed and performance of a web app. Thanks to the Service Worker, a progressive web app can not only be available offline, but also the high performance and ensure a better user experience.
Secured by HTTPS
With PWAs, communication via an HTTPS connection becomes the standard. HTTPS encrypts all data in order to reduce the risks regarding data security and on the other hand to enable the use of HTTP/2. PWAs use the HTTP/2 protocol to ensure secure data transmission. This enables different page elements (including images and animations) to be transmitted via a connection, which also makes it possible to send several requests to the server at the same time, to prioritize requests and to transfer data faster. Most web browsers also support the new protocol. All of these factors also play an important role in Google ranking. For these reasons, many online shops and digital business cards are presented as progressive web apps. The fast data transfer also enables high-quality images to be used to attract the attention of potential customers.
Enables an app-like user experience on mobile devices
A manifest is a JSON file linked to the directory of a progressive web app. The file contains various configuration settings that make it possible to define certain properties of classic apps for PWAs, such as the PWA icon, the background color, the font, the name or even the short name of the application, the design of the welcome screen to make a Progressive Web App look as if users are dealing with classic native apps.
Outside, the manifest contains necessary data on how a Progressive Web App should be displayed when it is “installed” on a user’s device like a native app. The manifest enables a user to be prompted for installation by an “App Install Banner” on the screen. If such an offer is accepted, a progressive web app receives official permission to be added to the home screen. It’s about adding not just an icon to the screen, but also additional functions that were previously only available for native apps.From this moment on, the “installed” progressive web app behaves as a traditional mobile app in full screen mode and enables an app-like user experience on mobile devices, although it is still running in the browser. As a result, a PWA combines the advantages of native apps with the advantages of a responsive website.
Always ready to motivate you to interact with push notifications
As soon as a user starts a progressive web app on the desktop or in the mobile browser, they are usually asked if they want to receive notifications. If a user allows notifications, they will receive a personal registration ID to which notifications will be sent later. The push notifications are aimed at keeping users up to date and increasing the interaction rate with the app.
Push Manager and Push API are used to enable push notifications to be sent. The manager regularly checks the status of an app in passive mode and sends an update either to a browser or to an operating system if the app is already installed on a user’s device.
Why is it worth having Progressive Web Apps built?
To answer this question, we have all the advantages summarize the PWAs not only in the use (such as good performance, offline capability, greater range, independence from app stores and more), but also in the web app development offer. Below are some of the benefits that we believe can help speed up your decision-making process.
With little time and money involved, with minimal investment, app developers can have a single progressive web app created that simultaneously fulfills several requirements and benefits from a platform-independent app as well as a responsive website combined and offers good performance. This reduces the double work. When developing PWAs, reusable components are often used, which can greatly reduce both time and costs. Because it is only a single application development, maintenance costs are also significantly reduced.
– Findable and search engine friendly: As progressive web apps are available via a browser, they can be found in the search engines like all traditional websites and web apps and can be linked on the web, which also increases visibility. As a result, such apps are found faster and easier.
– Can be run in all common browsers using any device: The progressive web apps run 100% in all common browsers: Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Opera and Edge. In addition, the listed browsers are called up via various end devices such as laptops, PCs, notebooks, tablets and smartphones.
– User-friendly: Potential users can try out a PWA without loading it from the app store and installing it on the end device. This property also allows access to the latest updates. Furthermore, PWAs offer a wide range of advantages – good performance, increased speed, offline capability, on-screen icon for direct access, push notifications and more – which have a positive effect on user experiences, increase the conversion rate, the chances for Increase customer acquisition and customer loyalty.