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Need for Progressive Webs Apps in Web Developement

By Rajeev Pandey, 3rd Eye Advisory®
Need for Progressive Webs Apps in Web Developement

A Progressive Web App (PWA) is a web app that uses modern web capabilities to deliver an app-like experience to users. These apps meet certain requirements, are deployed to servers, accessible through URLs, and indexed by search engines. This can work in conjunction with Cordova to provide a multiple deploy targets for all your users. You can deploy your app as a PWA as well as Native app and take advantage of both channels. Ionic allows you to ship your app to not only the app store, but also deploy to the mobile web as a PWA.

What is required

To be considered a Progressive Web App, your app must be:

  • Progressive :
    They work for every user, regardless of browser choice, because they are built with progressive enhancement as a core tenet.
  • Responsive :
    Fit any form factor, desktop, mobile, tablet, or whatever is next.
  • Connectivity independent :
    Enhanced with service workers to work offline or on low quality networks.
  • App-like :
    Use the app-shell model to provide app-style navigation and interactions.
  • Fresh :
    Always up-to-date thanks to the service worker update process.
  • Safe :
    Served via HTTPS to prevent snooping and ensure content has not been tampered with.
  • Discoverable:
    They are identifiable as "applications" thanks to W3C manifests and service worker registration scope allowing search engines to find them.
  • Re-engageable :
    Make re-engagement easy through features like push notifications.
  • Installable :
    Allow users to “keep” apps and find most useful on their home screen without any problem of an app store.
  • Linkable :
    Easily share via URL and not require complex installation.

Offline Support-
Apps should be able to work offline. Whether that should be displaying a proper "offline" message or caching app data for display purpose.

Web App Manifest-
An app manifest file should describe the resources your app will need. This includes your app's displayed name, icons, as well as splash screen. If you link the manifest file in your index.html file, browsers will detect that and load the resources for you.

Service Worker- A service worker is a script that runs in the background, separate from your web page. It responds to events, including network requests made from pages it serves. A service worker has an intentionally short lifetime.

Need of PWA in Web Development-

Fast and streamlined site-
Progressive Web Apps are based on new technology called service workers. Service workers are event driven scripts that have access to domain wide events. These are programmable proxies that sit between the user's tab and the wider Internet. In simple terms it provides instant and reliable loading irrespective of network connection. Flipkart Lite is a Progressive web app designed for the customers using 2G network.

Better User experience-
Addition to building streamlined websites, service workers helps in improving user experience. Users visiting via browsers enjoy app-like user experience. When they come back, it loads nearly instantly, even on slow networks. Frequent users will be prompted to install the app and upgrade to a full version. AliExpress, a popular e-commerce website in America, Russia and Brazil built a cross-browser Progressive Web App to combine the best of their app with the broad reach of the web. AliExpress observes 104% increase in conversion rates and users now visit twice as many pages per session, and time spent per session increased an average of 74% across all browsers.

Increased customer engagement-
You must have observed while accessing websites with PWA features prompts the user to 'Allow' sending of notifications. It's a subtle yet powerful message, particularly for social networking websites. As a user, tapping 'allow' here will allow the website to notify you of messages or updates- even when you're not looking at the page. Chrome has also incorporated 'Add to Home Screen' function.

Just two taps are required from the user to add the site to their home screen, making it easier for them to come back. If you add a PWA to your home screen, the app gets cached and you'll have a direct link from your home screen to the app. By defining a web app manifest, the developer can set the browser to open in full screen mode without an address bar, a splash screen, a color theme for the status bar and the icon itself.

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Article by: Rajeev Pandey, 3rd Eye Advisory®
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