Progressive Web App Overview

PWAs combine the best of native mobile apps and the web. PWAs are served on a URL that allows users to access through QR Codes, NFC, and SMS. Along with users having access from any device and operating system, PWAs are downloadable to home screens and able to integrate with certain functionalities of native devices (iOS and Android). Since PWAs work across operating systems they have a much lower time to market. Working on a tight time frame, PWAs are usually a great option to keep time and costs down versus hiring a development team for a native mobile app that you may have to create for iOS and Android separately. 

Here at Lumavate we have to agree with Alex Russell, Senior Software Engineer at Google, that 

“We should get to a place where users have all the upsides of the web–it should be safer, faster, you should get an operating runtime, applications shouldn’t be massive. All those things should be continual benefits that the web delivers, but you shouldn’t have to give up all the nice things that you like about native apps to get there.” 

Thanks to PWAs we can get there.

Special Characteristics of PWAs: 

  • Service Workers - Allows PWAs to work in low to no connectivity areas. It is a special script that browsers run in the background, separate from the app. It essentially acts as a proxy, intercepting and handling network requests from the app programmatically.
  • Native Functionality - PWAs can integrate with certain native smartphone functionalities. The functionalities differ between device manufacturers (i.e. iOS and Android). 
  • Universal Use - Works across all devices and operating systems. 
  • Web App Manifest - Allows PWAs to be installable to home screens. The file should tell the device the App name, icons the App uses, and what URL to use when accessing the App from the device.
  • SEO - PWAs are searchable, which can drive an increased SEO ranking. 
  • Needs a Small Amount of Storage - Takes up a small amount of phone storage compared to native Apps. For example, the Starbucks PWA is 99.84 percent smaller than is identical native mobile app. 
  • Secure - Always served via HTTPS. 

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