Pratikkumar P. Gaikwad | 05 min read | Nov 19, 2019

What is a Progressive Web Application?

1. What is PWA and Why is it a big deal?

The number of mobile telephone subscribers has increased exponentially in the last few years. Today, over 60% of the total internet use is through mobile phone.

Clearly, portability, cheap hardware, easy Internet access, and a higher number of Internet services are among the reasons for this.The optimization of the mobile phone user experience is essential with more mobile users.

The web app is the key opportunity for smaller companies that often lack native apps due to cost and time constraints and can attract customers by offering the highest possible experience.

If companies have a dedicated, mobile app, many users may prefer to download and install their web version because of hardware and memory restrictions or some other personal preferences.

At present, our websites have a very high expectation. When the website was invented nearly 25 years ago, it was mainly aimed at sharing information.

The website today is a grocery store, a social network, chat rooms and so on. The website is expected to search houses and hold the world map. The website is also expected to give all the features of powerpoint and excel sheet.

2. Meet progressive web applications

Take the Whatsapp illustration on your mobile. If you still have no network, you can open the app, search past messages and respond to someone. The messages are sent in the background automatically when the phone has an internet connection.

PWA promises this in web applications. This helps you to load web apps when you don’t have a network, sync and make things easy, while offering a native experience to your customers.

3. Why do we need PWAs and what are their features?

Let’s address some of the key characteristics that common non-progressive web applications ignore.

Reliable

It must be swift when loading seamless and available when there is no network or rather low-speed network like 2G. It must also be simple to use. If the page requires longer than 3 seconds to load, Google reports 53 percent of users quit the website.

Fast

When the client communicates with the web app, the scrolls and site changes should be buttery and seamless.

Responsive

The application should match all system sizes. The optimal web application should be like water which takes the form of the vessel.

Installable

If we want web apps to be closer to the native apps, they must be installed and reside with other native applications in the home screen so that the user can access the PWA on one click.

Splash Screen

During the app startup PWA adds a splash screen. It renders PWA more like a native application.

Highly engage-able

The app must keep consumers busy. A PWA provides tools such as push notification, home screen logo, full-screen and offline applications to perpetuate the engagement of users.

4. PWA and modern UI frameworks

Few think a PWA is associated with the latest user interfaces such as ReactJs, Angular 6 or Vue.js. Therefore, not forcefully. The framework you use has nothing to do with PWA, it only needs the necessary components.

5. How is PWA offering offline sites?

This was my first impression about PWA, specifically. How can online apps operate without the internet ?

We also know that native apps will open without an internet connection, because essential assets such as IP components and certain data are retained in the system when we download and install them …. Well that’s exactly what’s happening in a PWA too.

The PWA stores in your app cache, HTML documents, CSS files, and photos and allows users to monitor the network call entirely. All of these are made possible by service worker. *

6. What are the PWA’s basic components?

PWA has a number of important technical elements which coordinate and improve the regular web request.The following components are necessary to develop a successful PWA.

Service Worker

Manifest.json

HTTPS

Service Worker

  • The web apps speak directly to the network and the screen displays the iconic dinosaur if there’s no network.Here’s a chance to optimize the process.
  • The service worker saves the necessary resources in the browser cache for the first load. The service workers search the cache every time the user visits the application and returns the response to the user before even checking the network.
  • A Service Worker is only a JavaScript software component that acts as a proxy between the user and the network. A Service worker handles the request alerts and helps to create the first web application offline with the client cache API.
  • This can speed up the app’s performance whether your phone is connected to the internet or not.
    The developer has complete control over the app’s actions and how it should react in different scenarios.
  • Once the cache has been loaded and ready for offline visits you can also choose to advertise by making a notice that the cache is complete and that it is now accessible offline as well.

The Manifest File

  • The manifest file is a JSON configuration file which contains the request data, such as the logo that is to be shown on the monitor, the short name, the context or theme of your software.
  • If the manifest file is available, the Chrome browser automatically triggers the web application flag, which displays the logo on the home screen and downloads the PWA if the client approves.

HTTPS

  • Service workers are capable of intercepting and changing the responses to network requests. All actions on the client side are carried out by the service workers.Hence, PWA also requires stable HTTPS protocol.
  • The service worker will receive notification alerts and background sync which certainly improves the user experience and ensures a customer engagement. Push alerts and background sync are available, but a native interface is preferred.

7. Tools and libraries

Few open source tools are available that enhance and promote the creation of PWA.

  • Lighthouse is a publicly or privately run auditing tool that can work against any website and produce a specific report with the PWA checklist. It can be used to test and receive advice to further enhance your experience during the production of your PWA.
  • Workbox is a database set that is accessible from Google and can be used for the service worker file creation. The workbox often includes different image- and other tools caching techniques.

8.Success stories of PWA

Google posts PWA success stories of businesses. Visit this page to learn more about how businesses have overcome sluggish network problems, how they have improved user experience and boosted sales and SEO efficiency by up to 80 percent.

It shows different problems plaguing different companies throughout the globe and how PWA tackled them.