What is progressive web apps (PWA)?

Estimated Reading Time 4 minutes

Quick Answer:

A progressive web application (PWA) is a hybrid internet revolution. This new web technology enhances UX giving the user more opportunity. This innovation was created by taking the best bits of a native app and web app, in essence creating the best of both worlds.

what-are-progressive-web-apps

Skip to Pros and Cons

Technical answer:

For a PWA to work there a two elements which are needed, The Service Worker and The Web App Manifest.

  • The Service Worker is vital to allow a PWA to function offline. What it is, is a JavaScript background task that replaces the traditional web cache by using a cache API. The cache API wakes up when needed, listening to different network requests saving the static resources from the visited sites. The Service Worker saves these resources by redirecting the web page from going to the server but instead go to The Service Worker.
  • The second element which a PWA needs is the Web App Manifest, this is a JSON script, making it possible for the Web App to have a home screen icon, theme, splash screen and the ability for the web app to run in full-screen mode and as a standalone application.

PWA’s can be viewed as a set of web pages or a single web page that are rendered on a mobile device browser. They use common web languages such as HTML, HTML5, CSS, etc which simulate the retrieval of data from a mock API, all in a shell like architecture. To give the application it’s native appearance, a the Web App Manifest is used to describe the application and the Service Worker is used similar to the cache.

A common analogy for how a PWA works is related to the M&M peanut simulating a self-contained unit.

PWA Analogy

Peanut= The core Web HTML page content

Chocolate= The Web App Manifest applying the JSON script

Hard Candy Shell= Javascript which redirects the web page from retrieving the page from the server to the Service Worker

Pros and Cons of PWA’s:

Pros:

  • No ‘installation required’.
  • No application update required.
  • Offline use.
  • Quick loading.
  • Home screen icon.
  • Fresh content always available.
  • Secure.
  • Responsive.
  • Less intrusive.
  • Less storage used.
  • Linkable.
  • Shareable.
  • Indexable.

Cons:

  • Not all browsers are supported.
  • Not all native device software functionality is supported.
  • Not all native device hardware functionality is supported.
  • There is no central download store.
  • Cross app logins are not supported.

There are many reasons why you should think about using Progressive Web Apps. Not only are they killer hot for user experience, they are also cheaper to create than an actual app.

You really do get the best of both worlds with these. Lastly, due to PWA’s being more reliable and quicker to load we do need to say goodbye to the Down-asaurus, as he will never appear with a PWA.

RIP Dino.

pwa-downasaur

 

Jenny Farnfield
Jenny Farnfield graduated from Southampton Solent University with a 2:1 Degree in Advertising, and brings extensive commercial, digital and marketing acumen to the team at Digital Clarity. As well as her degree and experience, Jenny is also IDM certified, and utilises a rigorous, granular approach to digital marketing. Jenny digs deep to find solutions and uses an immersive approach in her accounts, turning numbers and data into actionable solutions for her clients.
Conversion of browsers into buyers from Google search remains a major priority f
Conversion of browsers into buyers from Google search remains a major priority for brands as we head into the festive season. How does your business stack up? Talk to us @digitalclarity #seo

Posted 2 days ago.

Conversion of browsers into buyers from Google search remains a major priority for brands as we head into the festive season. How does your business stack up? Talk to us @digitalclarity #seo

×
“If you’re not prepared to be wrong, you’ll never come up with anything or
“If you’re not prepared to be wrong, you’ll never come up with anything original.” - Ken Robinson

Posted 3 days ago.

“If you’re not prepared to be wrong, you’ll never come up with anything original.” - Ken Robinson

×
High st. Ken #highstreetkensington
High st. Ken #highstreetkensington

Posted 5 days ago.

High st. Ken #highstreetkensington

×
The march of the puffa. An art installation by Craig Costello for @moncler to ce
The march of the puffa. An art installation by Craig Costello for @moncler to celebrate the launch of their flagship Hong Kong store.  As part of the launch 1200 of these interesting pieces were given away. Nice! Picture via @telegraphfashion

Posted 6 days ago.

The march of the puffa. An art installation by Craig Costello for @moncler to celebrate the launch of their flagship Hong Kong store. As part of the launch 1200 of these interesting pieces were given away. Nice! Picture via @telegraphfashion

×
Fever pitch! Leonardo da Vinci's Salvator Mundi (Saviour of the World) was bough
Fever pitch! Leonardo da Vinci's Salvator Mundi (Saviour of the World) was bought for $450 million (£342 million) in New York on Wednesday evening, becoming the most expensive artwork ever sold.

The painting, which was once part of Charles I's Royal collection and was sold for just £45 in the 1950s is the last remaining Leonardo in private hands.

Posted 1 week ago.

Fever pitch! Leonardo da Vinci's Salvator Mundi (Saviour of the World) was bought for $450 million (£342 million) in New York on Wednesday evening, becoming the most expensive artwork ever sold. The painting, which was once part of Charles I's Royal collection and was sold for just £45 in the 1950s is the last remaining Leonardo in private hands.

×
Love the game, the grind, the bad moments and watch your accomplishments GROW. #
Love the game, the grind, the bad moments and watch your accomplishments GROW. #workhard #worksmart #garyvee #patience

Posted 1 week ago.

Love the game, the grind, the bad moments and watch your accomplishments GROW. #workhard #worksmart #garyvee #patience

×
Tears as Azzurri miss World Cup finals for first time in 60 years #italia #footb
Tears as Azzurri miss World Cup finals for first time in 60 years #italia #football #worldcup2018 #russia

Posted 1 week ago.

Tears as Azzurri miss World Cup finals for first time in 60 years #italia #football #worldcup2018 #russia

×
LinkedIn continues to drive growth for companies of all sizes. Learn how to maxi
LinkedIn continues to drive growth for companies of all sizes. Learn how to maximise the opportunities and results #digitalclarity #linkedin

Posted 1 week ago.

LinkedIn continues to drive growth for companies of all sizes. Learn how to maximise the opportunities and results #digitalclarity #linkedin

×