Understanding Progressive Web Apps

Understanding Progressive Web Apps

October 18th, 2018|Tags: , , |
  • thumb progressive web app

Progressive Web Apps is one of the trendy subjects right now in the digital world. Between a web app and a native app, they are being presented as an alternative to the hegemony of the app stores and the limitations of web browsers. But why are they so attractive?

Everything About PWAs

Let’s start with two definitions to put everything into the right context:

  • A web app is a website with interactive content, optimized for being accessed through a web browser
  • A native app is an app developed for a specific operating system (in general, either iOS or Android). Most of the time you access it through the app stores (App Store or Play Store), and it can often use features available on your smartphone such as the camera, GPS, etc.

A Progressive Web App is between the two. A PWA takes inspiration directly from the best of both worlds: the best of the web is there since a PWA can be accessed through a web browser, without downloading anything; the best of native apps is there since it includes an icon on your home screen and the ability to be accessed even when you’re offline.

Offline use, the main advantage

offline access

This is one of the biggest benefits of Progressive Web Apps. When the user first visits (using their browser), the data are cached thanks to Service Workers. Access to your content is thus guaranteed immediately even when the user is offline. And obviously that also means no waiting when the signal is weak.

About Service Workers: this refers to the browser’s ability to furnish an intermediary layer between the Web App and the network, which then runs in the background (even when the app is closed). This “network” layer is able to listen and send requests and notifications, or to recognize a connectivity change.

But also...

Another strength of PWAs is their accessibility, since it’s possible to create an icon for the home screen, without any installation needed.

And also:

  • Very quick load times
  • High level of security using https protocol
  • Push notifications.

It’s a completely new way to use an app through the browser - content delivery with no connection necessary!

Browser compatibility

Before throwing yourself into PWAs, it’s important to know the constraints as well! For example, adding the icon to the home screen isn’t automatic, it requires the user’s authorization.

Even more of an issue is the fact that not all browsers are compatible with these Service Workers. So make sure to understand the equipment your users are using before starting to use this format.

Browser Compatibility
Chrome 40
Edge 17
Chrome 44
Internet Explorer Not supported
Opéra 24
Safari 11.1
Android Webview Not supported
Chrome Android 40
Edge Mobile 17
Firefox Android 44.0 (44)
IE Phone Not supported
Opera Android OK
Safari iOS 11.1

Today, PWAs only represent a minority of all the web apps out there. With PandaSuite, you’ll be among the early adopters of PWAs. STand out from the crowd by creating your PWA with PandaSuite! Native, hybrid, web development… PandaSuite is your partner to move forward into the world of tomorrow!

About the Author:

Aude - Happy Ambassador & Phone Breaker 📵 I'm helping people turning ideas into engaging interactive content. PandaSuite makes it easy for you to create interactive content without any coding (mobile/tablet/desktop).