Progressive Web App: The Future Of Web Development
Tuesday, 13 November 2018
“If your business is not on the internet, then your business will be out of business” – Bill Gates
In a world where 62.9 per cent of the population owns mobile phones, the question is no longer if you should be targeting people through these devices but rather how you are going to do it. A business that wants to appeal to this large client-base has three choices; build and manage a responsive website, develop a native app or create a progressive web app (PWA).
While native apps are still prevalent and certainly aren’t going away anytime soon, they present challenges for developers and users alike. The past couple years have shown a significant increase in interest regarding the use of PWA and how it seems to be solving the problems that responsive web design & native apps have. The cross-platform technology used within PWA runs on more devices than the official languages and SDK’s for building iOS and Android native apps, but with all this hype will it withstand changing trends?
PWA are app-like websites that combine best practices brought from mobile UX and deliver them to the browser. PWA gives users the feeling of a native mobile app on a website that is secure, responsive and scalable. It works on any browser and users are not obligated to download it from an app store, a user can click the link and PWA is installed on the user’s phone.
To experience PWA is as simple as following this link. Once you follow the link, you will be directed to a PWA example from Google. This instant access gives users a completely different experience than the steps users need to take to access a native app. Users will need to first locate it in the app store, download and install it and only then will they have access to its content. PWA feeds into a user’s expectation of instant access in the digital age whereas native apps adhere to the digital realm’s expectations in a more time-consuming manner.
Regardless of the browser accessing the PWA, a user will be directed to a workable website. There is no need for separate apps for different platforms, which is the case for native apps. Compatibility of this nature is made possible due to its HTML5 capabilities. Another advantage to using PWA is its lack of moderation processes. Native apps go through a process of moderation before appearing on the app store. This process is required to ensure the app meets the platforms technical requirements. If there is an issue with the specific version in review, it will not be published until the issues are resolved.
The app store is well known for their stringent acceptance process, which is stricter than Google Play. Native apps are required to conform to these rules and regulations, which can impact release dates for many companies. This is an advantage of PWA, as their ability to bypass this type of regulatory processes adds to their competitive edge.
Progressive Web Apps have immense potential and are evolving the mobile web scene. Time will decide whether PWAs will take over a native mobile app or not but it has definitely cemented its space mobile web environment. The future of web development lies in the user experience, if companies are able to provide seamless, fast and effective services to their client base, they will continue to evolve with their customers, keeping themselves at the forefront of their industry’s.
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