Opinion: Progressive Web Applications – The future of web building and browsing

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Jameela Kapasi

Jameela Kapasi, Digitotal shares her opinion on Progressive Web Applications and the ifs and but's around the new-age system's future. She shares details on how the programme can be used for the developer's own benefit

We are existing in the digital age becoming heavily dependent on the virtual world. Progressive Web Applications (PWA) was first proposed by Alex Russel, with a concept in mind to build websites that behave like mobile applications.

PWA’s share strong benefits of being faster and reliable, and requires no installation at all despite functioning like an app. It is lightweight and occupies less phone storage. Moreover, it can be used offline and is cost-effective. One can create URL shortcuts easily and click and operate it just like the apps.

Another benefit of PWAs is that they can be operated offline as well. These applications are extremely user-friendly and help in reaching out to several large audiences. Since they are SEO-friendly, they have got web-like features that are google recommended. There can be easy URL shortcuts created like apps. Keeping the average usage in mind, a site using PWA can improve speed performance by 63% compared to its previous mobile site.

Many renowned companies like Pinterest, Uber, Trivago, and Starbucks have turned towards using PWAs anticipating it rightly to become the next big rage in the Web 3.0 era. It however comes with its challenges too and is not as easy as it may seem. Some challenges that come along with this are that it cannot have complex functionalities. It can also drain the battery more than an app on the phone. Hence the phone needs to be compatible with this. It is important to note that this is not supported by an iOS browser. And there is always the safety concern which comes in, even though it is https//: it is not as safe as a native app.

If you compare it with the benefits, the issues and concerns are minor in comparison. These issues can be easily resolved in the near future since PWA websites are very cost-effective and flexible. This is a great option, especially for websites in E-commerce and helps create a smooth user experience and makes it easy for the seller too.

On average, a site using PWA can improve speed performance by 63% compared to its previous mobile site. Pages load two to four times faster with PWA and PWA sites load in 2.75s on average. PWA mobile site can increase monthly organic traffic from 14% to 63%.

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In the case of start-ups, which don’t require complex functionalities, PWA proves to be extremely cost-effective and far more budgeted than native apps, depending on the priorities. There are some start-ups which do not need a website, hence for those, this would be of no use to them, as PWA works only through websites.

PWAs rely on new technologies such as Web App Manifest and Service Worker. According to a comScore survey, people visit 5 times more websites than apps on their mobile device in a given month but spend nearly 20 times more time on applications. Native and hybrid apps have the advantage of being immediately accessible from the home screen and application list. When critical events occur, they can send users notifications. The web can now do the same with Progressive Web Applications.

This article is authored by Jameela Kapasi, Technical Head - Digitotal.

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