Our mobile devices and PCs have been designed in a way that: for an application to be native, one has to browse through the device app store to find, download and install the app that suits his interests. This could take some time since first; an individual must browse through the apps then select the best app amongst all of them. The invention of Progressive Web Applications has curbed this problem and enabled instant accessibility of some of these applications via the internet.
What is a PWA?
A Progressive Web Application is a design pattern that uses web technologies to generate websites that operate like innate mobile device apps. These applications enable users to access services from a platform faster and minimize the workload of accommodating and maintaining a native app.
How does PWA work?
An application to be termed as a PWA should comprise these three components: a manifest file, a secure HTTPS network, and a service worker.
A manifest file displays the viewable aspect of the PWA. It portrays the name, templates, and icons of the app to predicate users easily.
A site must ensure its users can access data without incidents of viruses and untraceable operation. That is why every PWA needs a secure HTTPS network that is dependable and reliable.
Service workers are scripts that interlope all the activities and govern all operations of the application.
Advantages of using PWAs
1. Installation and updates
Progressive web applications save users the time required to download and install native apps on their devices. In case of new updates, the sites automatically update themselves without necessitating users to update manually in their devices app stores.
2. Low data and storage usage
These web applications use less bandwidth since caching and are efficient for people with limited mobile data. Their native applications need more storage space in devices compared to when using the PWA itself. For instance, the Amazon App is about 40MBs in size compared to its PWA, which requires 5MBs to access.
3. Improved performance
Compared to native apps, PWAs have a fast load speed depending on the browser type used. Users can access site services in less than 5 seconds rather than loading an application that would take more time to open. They are also reliable since everyone can access their data even without owning accounts.
4. App-store independence
These web applications do not require app stores since users can download them directly from the internet. Native apps require apps to be compatible with the device operating system. PWAs have curbed this since they are compatible with most devices and, in most cases, do not require OS permissions.
5. Data is accessible even when users are offline
PWAs allow loaded pages to remain available for their users even when they are not connected to the internet. This is a great deal for small firms since potential customers can readily browse their products offline and boost sales.
Disadvantages of PWAs
1. Incompatibility with some devices
As much as PWAs are easily accessible to users, some of their functions are limited. For instance, the iOS firm does not allow its users to access significant PWAs such as Bluetooth and ARKit. We are hopeful that future developments will be made to permit all devices to operate using PWAs.
2. Inability to access default device applications
Unlike a native application, PWAs do not have access to default applications such as the calendar, contacts, and photos. They also cannot connect with NFC, near-field-communications.
3. PWAs do not have access to app stores
Despite being easily accessible, PWAs often miss out on the advantage of being ranked in the app store and being selected by users who only trust applications from the app stores.
In the evolving world of business, most firms have opted to operate with PWAs to boost their sales. However, this is largely applicable for businesses like Walmart and Amazon that are widely known. Some of these businesses have built both native applications in the app stores and PWAs on the internet. This is a twofold advantage to them since accessibility to both parties: users who own the applications and those who opt for PWAs is guaranteed. A business’s choice to use a PWA depends upon its objectives.
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