Progressive Web Apps: The Affordable Alternative for Building Mobile Apps
Feb 17, 2016
A web app is one of the most common means for connecting users to your company or products. Many organizations also create a mobile-app version of their website for their user base. Very large sites, such as Google Plus, eBay, Amazon and others, develop different code-bases for their web app, Android app, iOS app or other operating systems.
Though separate code bases help deliver true, OS-tailored performance, maintaining code for various platforms can be difficult and expensive. First, there’s the overhead of staffing multiple coding teams, which is compounded by the added expense of ongoing code-base maintenance and updates. This is where the ‘progressive’ web application comes into play.
What Is a Progressive Web Application?
The progressive web app integrates contemporary technologies, such as service workers, and takes an offline-first approach, to give users a familiar, app-like experience. Progressive web apps may be visited online from a URL, or installed via the same. They are so named because over time, as users ‘progressively’ build a relationship with the app, it becomes more and more powerful, according to Google.
Benefits of Progressive Web Apps
These applications offer a range of benefits most companies find attractive, including:
- Economy: With mobile apps and web apps sharing the same base.
- Responsiveness: The ability to adjust to any screen size or resolution.
- Usability: They can be installed and run offline, using service workers to supply resources from the cache.
- Versatility: Adherence to the W3C Manifest specification identifies the web app as a bona fide application.
- Engagement: Adherence to the W3C Push API specification supports web-app user engagement with Push Notifications.
- Security: Progressive web apps are always served via https so they are not vulnerable to outside tampering.
- Flexibility: They can be run from a URL, like a normal web app, and be installed to a user’s home screen, right from the browser.
One Minus: Backward Incompatibility
Unfortunately, the technologies required to run progressive web apps are only available for newer browsers, thus posing limitations for developers targeting older browsers.
From TA Digital’s perspective, the future of the web applications has never been brighter. With robust and ever-improving technologies such as Chrome extensions, the Firefox OS, and GitHub’s Electron open-source framework paving the way for installable apps, progressive web apps take mobile performance up a notch by making it platform independent.
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TA Digital is an innovative digital transformation agency, specializing in delivering the digital experience, commerce, and marketing solutions. For nearly two decades, we have been helping traditional businesses transform and create dynamic digital cultures through disruptive strategies and agile deployment of innovative solutions.