Progressive Web Apps (PWA) – What is New?

What are Progressive Web Apps (PWA)?

Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) are web applications designed to be fast and reliable and provide a native app-like experience to users. They are built using modern web technologies such as HTML, CSS, and JavaScript and can be accessed like a regular website through a URL. However, PWAs have several features that make them behave like native apps, such as offline support, push notifications, and the ability to install them on the user’s home screen. This allows users to access the app even when they don’t have an Internet connection and provides a more seamless experience when they do have a connection.

Some of the key features of PWAs include the following:

  1. Responsive design: PWAs are designed to work on any device, including desktop computers, tablets, and smartphones.
  2. Fast loading: PWAs are optimized for fast loading, which means they load quickly and provide a smooth user experience.
  3. Offline support: PWAs can work offline, which means users can access them even when they don’t have an Internet connection.
  4. Push notifications: PWAs can send push notifications to users, which allows them to stay informed about new content or updates.
  5. Home screen installation: PWAs can be installed on the user’s home screen, just like a native app.

PWAs are an excellent way for businesses to reach users on the web, offering several benefits over traditional native apps. For example, they are easier to develop and maintain and don’t require users to go through an app store to download them. They are also more discoverable since they can be found through search engines and shared through links.

Differences between PWA and native apps

  1. PWA can be downloaded on any gadget in Google, Opera, Firefox, and Microsoft browsers, regardless of screen size and other specifications. In addition, the developers of these browsers will prompt users to install PWA on their second visit to the site.
  2. App developers note that creating a progressive app is easier and faster than a regular site.
  3. No backwards compatible API is needed. In the case of PWAs, users run the exact version of the site’s code (unlike desktop apps).

How progressive web apps work

Progressive Web Apps has two parts. The first is a wrapper that displays the structure of the page. The second is the content itself. There are four basic components required for a progressive app to work.

  1. Web manifest

The web manifest is one of the progressive and most important web technologies for the operation of an application. It is a JSON text file with the information to load content and display an icon on the home screen. The manifest is embedded in the HTML page of the site as a tag.

  1. Service Worker
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From a web programming perspective, a Service Worker is just a regular javascript file. This is the most critical element of progressive technology, as it is responsible for the interaction between the client and the software and hardware parts of the service.

It can be considered a proxy layer that passes all browser requests through itself. It has access to cached files and the site, so the Service Worker allows you to implement almost any business task with simple logic from a programming point of view.

  1. SSL certificate

For a progressive application to work, data must be transmitted over the secure HTTPS protocol. To do this, you need an SSL certificate – an electronic document on the site server for secure data exchange between it and the client browser. You don’t need to pay for it.

The site mustn’t contain links to unsafe sites; otherwise, the browser will not be able to display correctly. Most often there is a problem with images obtained from third-party resources. To avoid it, you need to save pictures to yourself or a service that works using the HTTPS security protocol.

  1. Application Shell

Application Shell is a GUI template, its static part. The Application Shell is in many ways similar to the shell of a native application: it is loaded with dynamic information when the application starts.

Benefits of PWAs

There are several benefits to using Progressive Web Apps (PWAs):

  1. Improved performance: PWAs are designed to be fast and responsive, loading quickly and providing a smooth user experience. This can help increase user engagement and reduce bounce rates.
  2. Offline support: PWAs can work offline, which means users can access them even when they don’t have an Internet connection. This can be especially useful for users in areas with poor or intermittent connectivity.
  3. Increased reach: PWAs can be accessed from any device with a modern web browser, which means they have a more expansive space than native apps that are tied to a specific platform.
  4. Easy to discover: PWAs can be found through search engines and shared through links, which makes them easier to discover than native apps that are only available through app stores.
  5. Cost-effective: PWAs are generally easier and cheaper to develop and maintain than native apps since they don’t require separate codebases for each platform.
  6. Improved user experience: PWAs provide a native app-like experience to users, including features such as push notifications and the ability to install them on the home screen. This can improve the user experience and increase engagement.
  7. Cross-platform. PWAs are first developed as web applications and should work on all browsers and operating systems.
  8. As a rule, the size of a PWA application does not exceed 1 MB. It’s smaller than a mobile app.
  9. PWA application works with functions: geolocation, camera, microphone.
  • Indexing by search engines. PWAs are recognized as websites and appear in search results.
  • For example, PWA Spotify users can listen to saved tracks offline.
  • Fast loading – as copies of application pages are stored in the browser cache.
  • Easy installation. As a rule, PWA appears in the list of applications of the device with one click.
  • Fast updates. New versions of PWAs are not uploaded to the app store but run as soon as the user refreshes the page.
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Disadvantages of a PWAs

While Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) offer many benefits, there are also some potential disadvantages to consider:

  1. Limited functionality: PWAs may not have access to all the features and functionality of native apps, depending on the capabilities of the web browser and the device.
  2. Lack of app store visibility: PWAs are not listed in app stores, so they may have less visibility and be more challenging for users to discover.
  3. Limited control over the user experience: Since PWAs are accessed through a web browser, the user’s experience may be influenced by the browser’s user interface and functionality.
  4. Potential security risks: PWAs may be vulnerable to the same security risks as any other web-based application, such as cross-site scripting (XSS) attacks or malicious code injection.
  5. Limited integration with device hardware: PWAs may have limited access to device hardware such as the camera or GPS, depending on the capabilities of the web browser and the device.

Overall, the disadvantages of PWAs depend on the specific needs of the application and the target audience. In some cases, a PWA may be a suitable solution, while in other cases a native app may be a better choice.

What tasks can be solved with a PWA-based application

  1. Encourage repeat sales.
  2. Simplify company search. Access to the company in 1 tap on the screen.
  3. Increase brand awareness. The icon (logo) of the company is always visible to the user.
  4. Increase the average bill of a transaction by upselling products using push notifications.
  5. Stay in touch with the client. Send notifications to the customer that the goods have arrived at the pickup point. Or that the item will be delivered today.
  6. Save on advertising. Now you do not need to set up a catch-up ad with a new promotion. It is enough to send notifications that your customers will notice.
  7. Get rid of competition in search results. Your customers contact through an application with no competitors, unlike search results.

Which businesses are suitable for PWAs

Suitable for all businesses whose services customers use regularly.

  1. Cleaning

Customers will be able to re-order the service in 1 click.

You will be able to analyze the frequency of orders by each customer and send cleaning reminders in advance, increasing the frequency of purchases.

  1. Restaurants, cafes, pizzerias, and delivery networks

Customers can order products or book a table in 1 click.

You can encourage customers to order more by sending promotional codes with discounts and promotions.

You can use loyalty cards using the application and QR codes.

  1. Online shopping

Customers can find you with one click and select the desired product without distractions. And if they put an item in their cart but didn’t checkout, you can incentivize them to buy. This is done with the help of notifications with a discount or a gift.

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Customers will be able to choose goods without the Internet. And when it appears, the data is automatically loaded to you.

Notify the customer about promotions or order status changes.

  1. Online courses

You can create a page where your courses will be available and open to your customers.

You can send notifications about the start of an online event if you are running classes, marathons, or webinars.

  1. Online media

Your users will be able to find you in 1 click, increasing the frequency of visits to your resource.

Users will not be distracted by other sites, which will increase engagement.

Users will be able to receive notifications about new publications on topics of interest to them.

You can earn additional income by sending advertisements using push notifications.

  1. Barbershops and the beauty industry

You can analyze the order frequency of each customer and send them reminders to visit your establishment in advance.

Upsell skin care products to your customers with push notifications.

  1. Network companies

You can notify customers when new products arrive or about delivery status.

Users will be able to find you in 1 click, increasing the frequency of visits to your resource.

Customers will be able to select the desired product without distractions. And if they put the product in the cart but did not place an order, you can remind them of this and encourage them to buy using notifications with a discount or a gift.

Customers will be able to choose goods without the Internet. And when it appears, the data is automatically loaded to you.

  1. Car services

Remind customers to change the oil or do other periodic auto maintenance work.

Notify the customer about the status of the repair.

Thank loyal customers with gifts.

Upsell car care products with push notifications

  1. Equipment sharing services

Users will be able to find you in 1 click, which will help them quickly solve problems that have arisen.

Send notifications about the vehicle’s state (the car is booked) or about new promotions and discounts.

Thank loyal customers with gifts.

Conclusion

PWAs combine the best features of mobile and web applications and improve the quality of customer service.

Potential clients can:

  1. install PWA from the site in one click;
  2. make purchases and view content offline;
  3. save space on your smartphone – PWA weighs up to 50 MB (more often – up to 1 MB).

Benefits for business owners:

  1. instant download speed of the catalog on the devices of potential customers;
  2. the ability to download PWA from the site without using the app store;
  3. sending PUSH notifications, which allows you to make additional sales, send essential reminders, inform the target audience about promotions and new products;
  4. reducing the cost of retargeting;
  5. increase conversions and sales.

The increase in loyalty and satisfaction of the target audience is the leading indicator that Progressive Web Apps will become even more popular shortly.