Have you heard about progressive Web apps? Of course you have. The whole Internet seems to be discussing them right now. And the subject got even hotter after Google I/O 18’ and a long-awaited confirmation that PWAs are coming to desktop for Chrome OS 67 in early June. Work is already under way for Windows and Mac.

But let’s take a step back here… You probably already know this, but the term was coined by two Google engineers, Alex Russell and Frances Berriman, back in 2015. The concept, however, seems to be coming into its own only in 2018.

Popularity of PWAs according to Google Trends

The popularity of PWA is peaking in 2018 (source: Google Trends)

It is indeed a fascinating concept. PWA allows you to build a website that looks and behaves like a native application across different platforms.

We’ve already seen many examples of companies trying to achieve app-like experience, including offline operation, the ability to add an app to the home screen, push notifications, etc. Do you remember concepts like Windows Store AppsElectron, and Chrome Packaged Applications? They all did just that, but at the same time abandoned the Web. After all, if you can’t link to something, it’s not the Web.

Progressive Web Apps are a different thing. Instead of deploying native-like applications to all stores at once, like in the case of other cross-platform technologies, the chief objective of PWAs is to reuse existing code to provide a mobile experience. It’s a kind of revolution that’s taking place in modern browsers.

PWAs provide the experience of an app without abandoning the Web. They’re basically websites built with modern technologies and providing a whole new experience to the user:

  • they’re installable—if a user visits your website for the second, third, or fourth time, they get the option of adding it to their home screen. After that, it’s still linkable and therefore shareable via URL.
  • they’re indexable—your app is visible in the browsers and so it’s searchable for users.
  • they work offline—once you download it to your device, you can consume content from the app without an Internet connection. Your users will never see the running downasaur :)
  • they can send push notifications—once a new article/product/piece of news shows up, your users will be notified.
  • they cut down page load times—as proved by housing.com, PWAs can significantly reduce page load times and thus improve overall UX.
  • they’re progressive—they will work for any user on any device, even with a poor Internet connection.

Additionally, PWAs follow the core tenets of a positive Web experience—they’re fast, integrated, reliable, and engaging.

#pwa #user experience #development

“Should I Consider PWA?” Possibilities of Progressive Web Apps with Examples
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