Today, mobile friendliness is a prerequisite for every website. You can use a mobile-responsive theme or shape up your website with online tools like Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test, but a Progressive Web App (PWA) can level up your web presence. Progressive Web Apps are reliable, fast, engaging user experiences that have the reach of the web.
What is a PWA?
Google introduced progressive web apps in 2015. We believe PWAs are the next stage of web apps since they come with a wide range of app-like features such as push notifications, ability to work offline, etc.
When launched from the user’s home screen, service workers enable a Progressive Web App to load instantly, regardless of the network state. PWAs do not refresh the entire page once the content is loaded; with PWAs you don’t have to open your browser because it is accessible right off your home screen; and with PWAs you can work even without the Internet connection. PWAs are also second-to-none when it comes to handling large amounts of data, thus adding PWA along with a mobile-friendly website is essential especially to people with a slow connection.
Corporates like Twitter, OLX, Alibaba, Infobae, and Forbes have adopted PWA solutions to ensure a flawless web experience for mobile users (hit links to learn their respective case studies). With positive results. As Forbes integrated PWA technologies to provide an app-like experience, they doubled their engagement rate and practically minimized its bounce rate.
You can find more information on progressive web apps here.
Tools and resources to start developing PWAs
PWA.rocks and Google Developers show great examples of PWA applications under various verticals; share basic information you should know before going for PWAs; and provides a complete tutorial on how to build and deploy your first PWA. Google Developer even has the library of useful resources.
Some other useful web development tools that can help you get the essence of what a PWA is and how to start building it would be:
Knockout for lightweight PWAs
PWABuilder for creating PWAs
PWABuilder might be the fastest way to bring your PWA ideas to life. The platform allows customizing some properties such as background color, screen orientation, language, etc. Once you are ready with filling in the required information, the platform will generate a PWA for your website.
AngularJS pathway for PWAs
In case AngularJS is too complex, you can take advantage of the ReactJS framework to build your first PWA from square one.
Polymer as a template for PWAs
Polymer is an open source project by Google. It can cut down the time required to develop a PWA by supplying you with the templates as well as other reusable components.
Polymer takes advantage of the PRPL pattern to reduce the development time and deployment of the apps to a device.
At IDAP Group, we use Polymer for building up prototypes fast. Polymer allows bypassing the custom setup.
Lighthouse for testing PWAs
Lighthouse is an online automated tool for checking up the quality of web-pages. It works with PWAs, too. Lighthouse evaluates their performance and accessibility. You can access Lighthouse from your Chrome DevTool, from the command line, or as a Nod module.
Once you insert a URL for audit, it runs a series of test against the app or web page, and then you get a report on how well the app did. You can use the results to improve your app.
With the automated tools mentioned above, you can create and deploy a fully-functioning PWA to establish a powerful mobile web presence/
As dozens of companies are investing on PWAs, don’t you think PWAs are the future of mobile web apps? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Helen Morrice is a technical writer at IDAP Group, a Ukrainian web, and mobile software agency. She works closely with app developers to provide the insightful but still readable articles on ap development issues. You can find more entries by Helen Morrice on Facebook and Twitter.