Progressive Web Apps – 2020 The Pros and Cons

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Steve Jobs presented the first iPhone that turned the world of technology upside down. He introduced not only the revolutionary gadget loved and owned by millions of people worldwide but also an idea that has rocked the IT sphere, the idea of mobile apps. Then followed Google’s Android OS which over time has seen the growth of mobile apps and the industry grow and enable entire industries to flourish like companies such as Uber, Air BNB.

The term “ Progressive Web Application” describes web applications that take advantage of new features supported by up-to-date browsers and creates user experience similar to a native application. A striking advantage of a progressive web application is its ability to work offline, send push notifications with no need to download and install from the app stores.

According to Gartner Research, PWA will replace 50% of consumer-facing apps. Such a prediction can be explained by several factors from being adopted by companies: Twitter, Pinterest, Ali Express, Trivago, Washington Post and Telegram to the rising unwillingness of users to install the native apps as to the effort required and the amount of dead weight in the app store.

A lot of water has passed under the bridge since Gartner made its prediction about the breaking role of PWA in the world of apps, and a lot has been improved in its nature. So let’s have a look at the chances of progressive web applications overtaking the market in 2020, and the crucial reasons for this.


What are the advantages of PWA’s?

Offline usage

Have you ever tried to get an important message while commuting? Got irritated getting into a dead wi-fi zone in your home or office? Or furthermore, needed to send an emergency text? The reality is that it’s not going to happen with a PWA. Once the connection is lost, the service worker caches the page with formerly stored data and the user can continue browsing. The reliability of a PWA that it brings to its users, making them feel secure about the ability to stay on, even if their network is off, is one of the major reasons to win the market.

Size and load times

In comparison to native apps, progressive web apps are much smaller and sometimes weigh even less than 1 megabyte, while the average size of the IOS app is 36Mb, Android is 60% smaller (13Mb).

This makes them lighter and faster to load.

Whether you have a fast connection or suffer from slow internet access, the sites can be loaded in less than a second which is different from the web and unfortunately, doesn’t always characterize native apps.

Let us give an example of Starbuck’s PWA which is 99.82% smaller than its IOS application which helped the coffee giant to double the number of users ordering every day, making the total of desktop orders equal to the total of orders from mobile devices.

Native look and home screen shortcut

With a PWA a browser will suggest adding the PWA app shortcut to a home screen making it one click away from opening. When you make this click, you experience an entirely native app lookalike.

Push notifications

PWA notifications act like native app notifications and can remind a user to come back to the site even days after they left it, maintaining the communication with the customers to make your brand an indispensable part of their everyday life.

Development

PWA development is much easier in comparison to native apps as PWA developers manage only one set of code allowing for faster testing and bug fixes than that of both IOS and Android versions, a progressive web developer does it once. Furthermore, when the application is ready, you just upload it to the server with no need to buy a license for the app stores or the dreaded time waiting for app approval from either Google or Apple. This makes progressive web application development a cost-effective way to reach a wide audience.


Disadvantages of PWA apps

You may think that it’s all too good to be true. Well, it’s true that PWA is an amazing alternative to native apps, but such apps also have certain shortcomings. Depending on your project Digital One Agency will thoroughly help to determine if your new app should be native or PWA.

iOS support

From version 11.3 onwards, PWA users weren’t able to use a lot of vital features like Face ID, Touch ID, Bluetooth and had no access to battery information. One more problem was constant reload. After the user got out of the app, the instance was terminated, and the app restarted from scratch if they wanted to use the app again. It seems like Apple promises to solve these issues on new devices, however, it will eliminate a considerable number of those having older phones.

Lack of presence on the app stores

Despite PWA’s main advantage (short app downloading process), these apps are missing out on a considerable number of users who mainly use the app store to find and download apps.

PWAs have limited capacity

Unfortunately, PWAs aren’t as efficient as native apps written in Swift or Java and do not have as good performance as native apps have. The difference between JavaScript and native languages makes it challenging to implement advanced functionality and make native and PWA apps like twins.

Greater exploitation of the battery

Some poorly designed PWA’s can make your phone work harder than a traditional native app. Those who are greatly concerned with their battery life will make sure they avoid apps that make their phone work harder.

No access to various device features

PWAs cannot access NFC, Bluetooth, ambient light, proximity sensors, advanced camera controls, wake lock, contacts, and more, which affects the app and phone usability.

Besides, there are a few more downsides of PWAs like Android and iOS devices not supporting the full range of PWA features, restricted offline execution and limited access to several hardware device components.

Summing up

Progressive Web Apps are the future of content consuming on mobile devices. It offers speed, reliability, and high-quality user engagement in a world where every second of the user’s attention is valuable…

The results achieved by companies that have already implemented this technology show that it is also a profitable decision to move your website to PWA. As previously mentioned there are many benefits of PWA vs Native Apps, it is about having the right advice to suit the needs of your app and your users. PWA technology is moving forward at an incredible pace, so expect to see fewer cons and more pros in the future in regards to PWA.

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