A progressive web app is a website which acts like an app. People go to a website and here’s the great bit, you do not have to go to an app store to install it. Users come to your website and are given the option to install the PWA. And when they do, an icon will live alongside the regular apps on your phone. This means that users can return to your app without having to visit the site again.
PWAs are quite new, but major companies are taking advantage of this technology. A case in point is Twitter which is one of the first major companies to the PWA game and is a good example of a PWA winning. Twitter Lite takes up less than a megabyte, saves up to 70% on data, and loads 30% faster. When you first boot up Twitter Lite it takes under five seconds to load over 3G networks (on most devices), and subsequent loads are almost instant, even on not as reliable networks.
Why bother with Progressive Web Apps?
- No Net Required. PWAs can function without an internet connection, so there is no need to reload the page every time like a website. Web dependant tasks can be queued and batched when you do have internet connectivity but the PWA itself will operate fine until then unlike a traditional webpage.
- Responsive. PWAs feel like native apps, they respond fast to input, smooth scrolling etc.
- Don’t Give Your Money To Apple. PWAs avoid the App store. This means that you don’t have to give apple 20% of your revenue for the privilege of running on iDevices.
- Faster. Like Twitter did with ‘Twitter Lite’, (and with the right programmers) you can have a PWA that is smaller, runs/loads faster and saves on data. In a mobile-driven world, this wins.
- Easier For Users. People no longer have to surf through the App/Play stores to find your App (or competing apps that have gone with similar names). They go directly to your website, cut out the middleman and get your app without hassle.
We are currently working with two clients on progressive web apps in Oxford. And while PWAs are not for every business, it is an incredibly powerful tool that can be a game-changer for a lot of companies. If you have a question about Progressive Web Apps and if they are right for you, drop us a line and we’ll be happy to help.
Posted by: Chris Hands
May 02, 2018