All about PWA
In recent times, all of us must have heard a lot about PWA but we have less information related to it. So lets figure it out what is it and why is it gaining so much popularity.
What is PWA?
PWA stands for Progressive Web Apps. As the name suggests, it is a combination of website and mobile native-app. PWA is a new form of application development that brings out the best features of both website and mobile native-app and combines them. A PWA is just like a website which launches in our web browser and then provides us many native-app features such as offline access,push notification, launch from the home screen on a single click and so on. PWA always runs in the background and keep us updated with useful information through push notifications just like any other native-app.
When we first visit a PWA site, it prompts us to pin it to our homescreen. As soon as we allow, it gets pinned to our homescreen with other mobile apps. We just need to click the icon when we want to launch the app next time .
As per the latest trends, we have seen a tremendous increase in the use of mobile users. For about more than 60% of the internet usage is due to mobile users. It does not mean that in the upcoming time the demand for website will vanish. We need to support both the web and mobile apps to satisfy all our users. But it is quite difficult to provide support to both web and mobile users technically as well as financially. Here PWA comes into play. PWA provides us with a solution to create a common application which is supported by all the platforms. As a result of which we don’t need to maintain different application base for our application development or deployment(web, android and ios separately)
Advantages of PWA :-
Performance — According to the survey, more than 40–45% of the users leave the website that takes more than 3 sec to load. Web applications have always faced an issue of low performance when it comes to loading as compared to mobile apps. But this is not the case with PWA. It makes use of service workers(A service worker is a script which runs in the background by our browser). Service worker is the key component of PWA. The entire credit for the performance goes to service workers. The service worker plays a very important role in caching, updating background content , sending push notifications and loading content fast when visiting the site next time.
Offline Access — This is one of the most important features of PWA. While using a normal website, whenever we are offline we see a blank screen showing message “Unable to connect to the internet” (with the dinasaur game). In case of PWA, this is not the case.We don’t get any new data, but atleast we are able to view old data on our screen. This is due to the caching supported by PWA.
Easy to maintain — Since we have a single codebase which is supported by all the platforms, we don’t have to worry much about the code maintenance issues .
Time saving — There is no need to install PWA from the App Store or Play Store. As we can directly pin it our homescreen, we don’t need to waste our time on the review process followed by AppStore/ Play Store to make our app live.
Besides having so many advantages, PWA has some limitations as well(as of now — April 19,2019).
Not able to access native features. — Though PWAs helps us to make use of some of the native features (bluetooth ,GPS..) but still many of them are not yet supported (alarms, phonebook access…). PWA does not have the capability to interact with other mobile apps installed.
Push notifications not supported in IOS. — Currently PWA is completely supported by android. IOS provides support for PWA partially and not completely. IOS does not allow us to send any push notification .
Is PWA the future of development?
As of now, PWA won’t completely replace native apps. Native apps have their own beauty and usage. Though PWA has some limitations when it comes to use native features but these limitations are subject to change. As per the technical advancement and development going on , it can be predicted that all the browsers will completely extend their support to enhance PWA app usage.
This blog was orginally published here.