What are Progressive Web Apps and How it Works?

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I am sure by now you must have heard or read about Progressive Web Apps on any article or elsewhere. Progressive Web Applications is an experience that combines the best of web applications and the best of mobile applications for the user.  Progressive Web Applications use service workers, HTTPS, a manifest file and an app shell architecture to deliver native app experiences to web applications on your mobile and computer.

PWA is one of the technologies originally proposed by Google company to make the web a better place for everyone to use. A better place in the sense that the web is fast and easily accessible to users no matter where they are and even with the poorest of connections.

How progressive web apps work

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Progressive — The word progressive means, in this case, is that Progressive Web Applications works for every user, regardless of browser choice because they’re built with progressive enhancement as a core tenet. Responsive — progressive web application Automatically adjustable to any form: desktop, mobile, tablet, etc. Load Time — PWA is instantly available for you.

Why choose progressive web apps

So you must be wondering that, as a developer, product manager or CTO, why do I need a Progressive Web Application? Do I need a Progressive Web Application? Is it all just hype and noise?

Cost – The cost of building a PWA is less than that of a mobile application.

Progressive – progressive web application Works for every user, regardless of browser choice because they’re built with progressive enhancement as a core tenet.

Responsive –  progressive web apps Fit any form factor: desktop, mobile, tablet, or forms yet to emerge.

Connectivity independent – Service workers allow progressive web applications to work offline or on low-quality networks.

App-like – Feel like a native app to the user with app-style interactions and navigation.

The fresh – progressive web application is always up-to-date thanks to the service worker update process.

The safe – progressive web application is Served via HTTPS to prevent snooping and ensure content hasn’t been tampered with.

Easy Discovery – Are identifiable as “applications” thanks to W3C manifests and service worker registration scope allowing search engines to find them.

Re-engageable – progressive web applications Make re-engagement easy through features such as push notifications.

Installable – progressive web apps also allow users to “keep” apps they find most useful on their home screen without the hassle of an app store.

Related: How Much Does it Cost to Create an Augmented Reality App

Characteristics of A Progressive Web App

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Service Worker

A service worker is another technical element that supports one of the main features of progressive web applications are such as the offline work mode, background syncs, and push notifications typical for native apps. The service worker is a JavaScript file running separately from the web page/app on your computer or smartphone. It responds to user interactions with the app, including network requests made from pages it serves. Because the service worker runs only to process a specific event, its lifetime is short.

Transport Layer Security (TLS)

PWAs leverage the Transport Layer Security (TLS) protocol. TLS is the standard of secure and robust data exchange between two applications. The integrity of the data requires serving the website via HTTPS and installing an SSL certificate on a server.

The application shell architecture

Building and maintaining PWAs entails separating static content from dynamic content. The progressive web application shell consists of core design elements required to make the application run without the connection. The app shell approach works especially well for JavaScript-heavy apps consisting of one page and apps with relatively stable navigation and changing the content.

Background synchronization

The service worker is also in charge of this feature. It delays actions until stable connectivity is back. For example, the message sent right before the connection fails will be marked as sent and then will be delivered as soon as service is restored. 

Push notifications

Push notifications are an efficient tool for user re-engagement through the content and prompt updates from websites they like. Progressive web apps can send push notifications even when the browser is closed, and the app isn’t active.

Offline work mode. The service worker allows for caching an application shell(interface), so it loads instantly on repeat visits. The necessary dynamic content (i.e. message or payment history, shopping cart, avatars) is refreshed every time the connection is back. These mechanics allow for decent app performance and improved user experience. 

The Web App manifest

A JSON file is the first component that gives the progressive its native app interface appearance on your mobile device. With the manifest, a developer can control the way the app is displayed to the user (i.e. full-screen mode without visible URL bar) and how it can be launched. The file allows a developer to find a centralized place for the web app’s metadata. The manifest usually contains the starting URL, an app’s full and short name, links to icons and icons’ sizes, type, and location.

“Related: How Much Does it Cost to Create an Augmented Reality App

Platforms which supports PWA

Until a few days back only android used to supports PWA, as recently Microsoft also announced they are going to support google’s PWA services. In addition to that Apple is also starting to support PWA in its browser Safari.

So, if you’re planning to develop a progressive web app, Tech Pathway can surely help to build a perfect progressive web app for your business.

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