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Progressive Web Apps – Advantages and Disadvantages

In Programming Languages by RuneLeave a Comment

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Mobile Web is the real deal these days as most of the users use their mobile phones to access the web. According to stats, in 2018 more than 52% percent of the global traffic were generated from mobile devices. In this guide, we will tell you about Progressive Web Apps which was introduced in 2015 and since then it has been adapted to several websites around the world. Let’s get started.

What are Progressive Web Apps?

To understand Progressive Web Apps, you need to know about Web Application and Native application.

Web Applications became popular in 2014 with the creation of HTML5 and it is used to perform different tasks on the internet. A web application is pretty similar to a website, a web application focuses on the user’s interaction.

Now a native application is developed using platform-specific programming language and tools provided by the specific OS Vendors.

Progressive Web Apps are basically the blend of the features of both native apps and web apps, and it offers much better performance.

Why Progressive Web Apps?

As we shared the stats, the mobile web is the real deal these days and the main problem with consuming content on mobile devices is that the slightest delay irks the consumers and also compromise the user experience.

To encounter this specific problem, Google introduced PWA in 2015 which allowed the users to have fast loading websites on their mobiles.

PWA uses Service workers, we basically store the server of the PWA in the browser to the user and the system add new feeds into it from time to time.

This results in super-fast loading websites and it works well on all platforms including desktops, tablets, mobiles etc.

Advantages of Progressive Web Apps

Progressive Web Apps is the booming technology these days and many websites prefer to use it due to its advantages.

Following are some of the advantages of Progressive Web Apps

Responsive Layout for Every device

When it comes to responsive layouts, no one does it better than Progressive Web Apps (PWA). Responsiveness is the real issue with websites, but if you use PWA then you don’t need to worry about it.

PWA Layout is responsive for every user and no matter which device they are using the app will adjust the application according to the screen size.

Progressive Web Apps are affordable

Another big plus for Progressive Web Apps (PWA) is that they are very affordable as you will not have to develop a different version of the websites for different platforms.

Progressive Web Apps (PWA) works flawlessly on every platform and this reduces the cost of the development.

PWAs are available in offline mode

As we told you the cache of the PWA resides in your web browser. This means even if you don’t have access to the internet you will still be able to consume content on the website.

This may seem like an insignificant advantage, but this could be a huge plus for your business and it also results in better user experience.

No conventional updates

PWAs don’t use the conventional installation process where the users are directed to Google Play Store or Apple App Store to download the updates.

Alternatively, PWAs quickly download the update when consumer access the website. In this way, users don’t have to wait to get the latest updates and it will also save their time.

By opting the PWA, you will also save some $$ as Google Play Store charges the lifetime fee of $25 USD for opening account. Similarly, Apple App Store changes an annual fee of $99 USD for uploading applications on their platform.

Push Notifications

Push Notifications are also very common as companies use these to display short messages to their users and also inform them about different activities.

Push Notifications are common on native applications and as PWAs also uses the features of native apps, Push Notification feature is also available on PWAs.

Less memory space

Another big plus for PWAs are less memory space, the native mobile applications take up to 50 Mb or more space in your mobile application and the PWA version of the same application will take less than 2 MB space on your device.

Disadvantages of Progressive Web Apps

Progressive Web Apps may seem perfect when you see the advantages but there are some disadvantages which you must have in mind before you start to build applications.

Following are the Disadvantages of Progressive Web Apps

Missing out Massive App Store Traffic

Millions of people use Android and IOS smartphones around the world and they regularly visit the Play Store and App store to install the latest applications on their smartphones.

If you opt for Progressive Web Apps (PWA) then you will miss a large chunk of users and it may compromise the growth of your application.

High Battery Usage

As we mentioned earlier, PWAs take less space on your smartphone but it is also true that they also consume a lot of resources. As a result, you get poor battery life.

Progressive Web Apps (PWA uses a high-level programming language and your device will need more resources to interpret the code and as a result, it will drain your battery.

Restricted Access to device features

The major problem with Progressive Web Apps (PWA) is that they have restricted access to the device’s features.

Progressive Web Apps (PWA) can’t use features such as fingerprint sensor, vicinity sensors, NFC service which is very common in European countries, as well as Bluetooth, Geo-fencing and advanced camera controls.

Conditions on Using Push Notifications

Having Push Notification functionality may seem like a major plus for Progressive Web Apps (PWA) but there is a catch.

If you want to use the push notification, then the website needs to use the secured TL Connection, otherwise, you won’t be able to use this feature.

Examples of Progressive Web Apps (PWA)

Now you know the advantages and disadvantages of Progressive Web Apps. If you are still confused about using Progressive Web Apps then you can study the following examples of PWAs as it will help you to understand when and why you should use Progressive Web Apps.

Twitter Lite Social Media PWA

Twitter is one of the largest social media platforms with more than 326 million monthly active users. The interesting fact is that 80% of the total users are mobile users.

Most brands use this platform for reaching out to their customers as it has low restrictions compared to other platforms and it gives a better user experience to their users by reducing loading time.

To execute their plans, Twitter launched their new Twitter App “Twitter Lite App” which is well-regarded by the twitter community and it is one of the most popular PWAs out there.

Twitter is also adding new features to its PWA to make it more useful for Twitter users. According to stats, Twitter Lite App is generating more than ten million push notification per day, and it is also resulting in better user engagement.

The Washington Post New PWA

The Washington Post is one of the most popular news agency in the world and they also adopted Progressive Web Apps for their network.

The company decided to switch to this technology as 55% of the total traffic was consuming content from mobile devices and The Washington post wanted to increase their user engagement.

The Washington Post was one of the very first businesses who adopted PWA and they provided PWA experience to their users with the help of Accelerated Mobile Pages.

Accelerated Mobile pages is a new publishing standard which loads the web pages within seconds. Using PWA, the Washington Post was able to improve their page load time by 88% as compared to traditional mobile web.

The PWA monitors the offline user activity with the help of tools like Google Analytics and the company is working to make it more useful for readers.

Shopify Litefy App

Shopify is one of the major e-commerce platforms and they also launched their PWA Application “Litefy App”.

Litefy App allows their users to upgrade their online themes into Progressive Web Apps (PWA). This helps the retailers to have great customer engagement and retention thanks to offline mode, fast loading and simple access to the store.

Starbucks Coffee PWA

Starbucks Coffee has more than 28k stores in more than 70 countries around the world. The company introduced their Starbucks PWA in 2017 when they were expanding their business to the emerging markets.

The company also wanted their Application to be fast so that their mobile customer could get faster loading times.

Starbucks Coffee PWA allows the customers to browse the entire menu, create customized orders and also add it to the shopping cart. The best thing about this API is that it works great even when the internet connectivity is poor.

That is one of the main reason why it was developed in the first place.

The Entire size of the Starbucks Coffee PWA is less than 3 kb and at this size, it is offering tons of functionalities to Starbucks customers. Starbucks Coffee PWA is resulting in better customer engagement.

Trivago Hotel Booking PWA

Trivago is a popular travel-industry application that helps tourists to find the best price for hotel rooms around the world.

The company launched their PWA in April of 2018 with the aim to increase customer engagement and encourage travelers to use the Trivago platform by offering the fast loading platform.

Trivago Hotel Booking PWA is available in more than 50 countries around the world and users can select more than 30 languages for their application.

In this application, travelers can find reviews about the hotels, their average rating and directions to these hotels. With the launch of Trivago Hotel Booking PWA, the company is experiencing 150% more growth for the user who added the app on their home screen and 100% increase in click outs to offers by hotels.

Pinterest Social Curation PWA

Pinterest is another popular social media platform which adopted PWA to increase their global reach and user engagement.

The platform was generating a conversion rate of just 1% and the company wanted to increase their conversion rate by offering better UI for Pinterest posts and faster loading time.

After the launch of Pinterest Social curation PWA, the platform experienced the immediate improvement in their performance. Before the launch of PWA, only 5% of the user was spending more than 5 minutes on the platform which was increased to 40% after the PWA was launched.

The company also increased their user-generated Ad revenue by $44. Despite the success, the company is working to make their PWA more useful for their users.

Conclusion

Development of Progressive Web Apps has been proven beneficial for many businesses around the world because they were able to take the right decision at the right time.

In this guide, we shared the advantages and disadvantages which will help you to take informed decision and we have also shared the examples which you can take as use cases.

Progressive web Apps technology is still developing and it will get better with time. PWA is a great technology for developing businesses as building a progressive web app is faster and cheaper.

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