Progressive web app known as PWA is a web app that uses modern web capabilities to deliver an app-like experience. You can install the web app as an app. Once installed it can work offline, push notifications, integrate with device and many more like an app. The user experience is like an app.
Following are the additional capabilities of PWA compared to native web sites:
- Network proxy
- App packaging
- Push notification
- Background sync
- Local storage
- Page visibility
- Media capture
- Media playback
- Device vibration
- Battery status
- Integrated payments
- Credential management
- Network streams
- Peer to peer
- web share
Since the beginning of internet, the world of application development has been moving back and forth for “Rich” UI application and “Reach” to global customers. Let us go through the below illustration that shows the trend of application since early nineties till 2017.
Moving applications towards richness using apps experienced less reach to customers. The reach factor is supported by the fact that in US around 36% are mobile app users (low reach) while 64% are web site users (high reach). It is also fact that most of the time app users are engaged in very little apps approximately 5 to 10 apps only while web users explore any kind and number of websites for any business.
A survey in the internet shows that most of the time people are engaged with few leading apps like Facebook, YouTube, Google, Instagram, SnapChat, Amazon. Whereas people go to several websites daily for several purposes. It is known that web sites attract users while apps retain users. I generally spend 1 to 5 minutes on a web site but I spend the whole morning and evening on the apps.
We need both richness as well as reach and this is possible with the concept of Progressive Web Apps (PWA). It has already been in market and consumed by several companies like Forbes, Twitter, Virgin America, Alibaba.com, Flipkart, Trivago, Washington Board, Airtel, geo.tv, etc. You can browse “www.pwa.rocks” to check some of the sites built with PWA. PWA seems like a promising future and the answer to the question in above illustration.
Browsers Supporting PWA as of April 2018
Browsers that already support and working to support PWA are Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Edge, and Samsung Internet. W3 manifest definitions are already there for PWA. iOs and Safari still doesn’t support PWA but likely to support in future as suggested by several forums. Once all these major browsers completely support PWA there is likely to increased demand of developers with the skill. For now native apps cannot be replaced and it is not ripe time to declare that PWA is an alternative.
In the year 2014-2015 Pyramid technical COE team noticed the global trend of moving the web applications towards “Richness” by using frameworks like knockout.js, angular.js, etc. Pyramid followed the trend and developed skills in angular.js in advance. From 2016 till now, we experience almost all clients and projects are going with or towards Angular 1/2/4/5/6. Our readiness in advance helped us to meet the market demands seamlessly.
Again Pyramid COE noticed that around 2018-19 the global trend is very likely to be moving towards PWA along with all those Angular, Knockout.js, ember.js etc. to meet the demand of a technology which provides both Richness (app-like) and Reach. Angular 6.0 now supports quick and easy integration of PWA framework and development.
PWA is a new trend of web application development and browsing using existing frameworks and consuming the capabilities supported the browsers for PWA. We need to follow the architecture, standards and manifests of PWA. It is high time to explore the power of PWA in your B2C applications.