Mon, Mar 1, 2021

What is a Progressive Web App?

What is a Progressive Web App?

Ever been caught between the allure of web apps and the functionality of native applications? Enter the Progressive Web App (PWA), a game-changer that's making waves among app creators. It's like having your cake and eating it too! But what makes it so irresistible?

A Quick Dive into App Types

Before looking at the Progressive Web App in more detail, here is a quick overview of the main app types.

  • Web Apps: Think of them as interactive websites, optimized for any device's browser. They're versatile and accessible from anywhere.
  • Native Apps: These are the apps you download from stores like the App Store or Play Store. Tailored for specific operating systems, they offer a rich user experience and can tap into your device's features like the camera or GPS.
  • Hybrid Apps: Imagine a website disguised as a mobile app. It's available in app stores, but deep down, it's still a web page.

Why PWAs Are Winning Hearts

PWAs combine the best of both worlds: the flexibility of web apps and the user experience of native apps.

  • No installation needed: Just add it to your device's home screen.
  • Offline access: Thanks to data caching, you can use it without an internet connection.
  • Speedy performance: It's faster than your average web app.

The Magic Behind PWAs

At its core, a PWA is a web app. It's crafted with familiar web technologies like HTML5 and CSS3. But what sets it apart are service workers and a manifest file. These ensure a smooth, app-like experience even when you're offline.

Service workers are a script that the browser runs in the background on a mobile device. It provides an intermediate layer between the web app and the network, which runs in the background (even when the app is closed). Using the worker services, the PWA offers a disconnected experience and better performance than a web app.

Why Should You Consider a PWA?

The Progressive Web App offers many advantages that position it as a possible future of mobile applications.

  • Easy Peasy Installation: Unlike a native application, the user does not need to install the application. Just click on its URL to access its content from a browser.
  • Hassle-free Deployment: Forget about app store approvals. Updates? They're a breeze.
  • Home Screen Worthy: The user has the possibility to add the Progressive Web App to the home screen of the mobile device. This is made possible by the manifest file that gives the app an icon and a unique name, as well as a loading screen.
  • Full-Screen Experience: Enjoy an immersive, mobile-optimized view. When opened from its shortcut, the app is displayed in the browser in full screen mode.
  • Offline? No Problem: Access content anytime, anywhere. hen it is loaded the first time, the data is cached in the browser thanks to the service workers. The content of the PWA is then available without an Internet connection and without delay.
  • Universal Appeal: Works on mobiles, tablets, and computers.
  • Power-packed: Faster load times and efficient resource usage.
  • Safety First: Secure browsing with the HTTPS protocol.

The Flip Side of PWAs

Nothing's perfect, right? PWAs have their quirks too.

  • Browser Compatibility: While many modern browsers are on board, some lag behind, especially when it comes to features like service workers. On iOS, only Safari browser can be used to get some features related to the PWA such as adding the shortcut to the home screen. On the other browsers, it works as a standard web app. On computers, PWAs work in a similar way to applications. They are available on Chrome OS, Windows, Linux, and MacOS.
  • Limited Features: PWAs can't access all system resources. For instance, Bluetooth and NFC remain out of reach.

Ready to Dive into PWAs?

PWAs have their pros and cons. Your choice should align with your goals. If you're itching to create one, PandaSuite has got your back. With them, crafting a PWA is as easy as pie. Discover the greatest freedom of creation without any coding.

Share this article

Get started for free

Join more than 25,000 users worldwide. Don't worry, PandaSuite is free as long as you want.

Get started for freeContact Sales
PandaSuite Studio