There is a lot of buzz around in the web app industry due to progressive applications. They are claimed to be the near future of existing web apps. So what are they?
Progressive web apps or PWA’s are like normal web applications but can be installed on your phone and can run like a native application. This is achieved with the help of native API’s and service workers.
Don’t believe me? Visit the Flipkart website on your mobile browser and it would prompt you to add to home scree. Give it a try and check out the app icon added to the homepage. You would feel like using the actual flipkart app in the play store without needing to install any.
Flipkart was one of the pioneers to use the concept of service workers for the relaunch of their mobile website last year.
Quick Note: It was Google who came up with the term and this is how they explain it.
“”Progressive Web Applications take advantage of new technologies to bring the best of mobile sites and native applications to users. They’re reliable, fast, and engaging.
Advantages? These are what you get.
– Service Workers only work on content served securely. Thus, HTTPS is mandatory and so there is no problem of data loss.
– It can deliver the App-like user experience without the need to install anything.
– No network issue: Service Workers are so optimized that they can even work on slow networks such as 2G, with any degradation to the experience of the user.
– No hassle of updates: All the updates to the app go live instantly. There is no need to push updates to every user.
– PWA can also deliver animations without any delay or lag
– Wanna tell something to your users? Yes, PWA also supports for push notifications so that you are always linked to your users.
– And its accessible via a URL as well. Not everyone installs even the icon.
All these doesn’t mean that you should start using it right away. First, determine if you really need it for your application.
For applications that would have content that is updated regularly, PWA is the best bet. You can even take such applications offline so that your user can access the information at any time. Applications like chat also can implement PWA as they would need to have updates and push notifications.
Up next? The next article of the series would talk about Service Workers and they functionality. Stay tuned.
Meanwhile, check out some of the awesome progressive web apps demos at pwa.rocks. Or in case if you want to get started immediately, there is short tutorial from Google that would guide you through the process here.