Powerful Progressive Web Apps | Primathon

Powerful Progressive Web Apps | Primathon

Sep 25, 2020

Have you ever seen “Add XYZ to your Home Screen” on a website and wondered what the heck is this?

This website is a PWA! A progressive web app!

When you click on “Add MakeMyTrip to Home Screen”, the browser installs an icon to your apps menu in your mobile which can actually act as an Android/iOS app. Woaah! Isn’t that interesting?

You can create a mobile app without actually writing swift or java code! Web community has been constantly working hard to improve users experience with Web. Earlier, the websites were mostly optimised for web but now, with a rise of Smartphone users, there is a dire need of highly performing websites which can provide a great user experience to smartphone users.

In the era of smartphones, Apps continue to play a massive role in our daily life. But building and maintaining a native app is cumbersome and often quite expensive. Luckily, PWA can save us from that.

What is this PWA ?

PWA a.k.a Progressive Web Apps is the concept that layers on our website providing not just the feel but the functionality that rivals an actual native app.

Put it simply, Progressive Web Apps are web applications that load in a web browser just like web pages or websites. It gives you a rich mobile experience via native-like functionalities such as the ability to work offline, push notifications, and device hardware accessibility.

It feels like a native app and offers the same experience as a native one. There is no need to download it from an app store. It loads, runs, and functions in a web browser.

For the background of PWA you can refer this link.

Sounds interesting, isn’t it? Here are some features of our PWA:
  • It provides super-rich experience: Due to modern web standards, it offers an appealing user experience
  • App-like experience: while using it, you will feel native-like experiences and functionalities
  • Secure: It uses HTTPS to prevent any threat and vulnerability
  • Modern: thanks to the functionality like service workers, these apps are up-to-date
  • Greatly responsive: PWA works best for mobile, desktop, tablets in terms of responsiveness
  • Works offline, on the low-quality network: This is most important; it runs offline and even in low-connectivity
  • Linkable: It is usually shared via the link and does not need a separate installation.

The three pillars of PWA:

It doesn’t take much to set up a PWA. No matter what library or framework you are using or be it just your HTML, CSS and Javascript project, your Progressive web app just need these three pillars to stand on.

A secure connection (HTTPS): 

PWAs only work on trusted connections, you have to serve them over a secure connection. This is not only for security reasons, but it’s also a very important trust factor for users.

A Service Worker:

A service worker is a script that your browser runs in the background, separate from a web page, opening the door to features that don’t need a web page or user interaction. Today, they already include features like push notifications and background sync.

The reason this is such an exciting API is that it allows you to support offline experiences, giving developers complete control over the experience.

Below is an overly simplified version of the service worker lifecycle on its first installation.

Service worker lifecycle

We will talk more about Service worker is in next blog.

The manifest file:

This JSON file contains information on how your PWA should appear and function. Here, you determine the name, description, icons, colors, et cetera.

This is how your manifest file look like:

    "name": "demo",
    "short_name": "demo",
    "icons": [
            "src": "assets/icons/icon-72x72.png",
            "sizes": "72x72",
            "type": "image/png",
            "purpose": "any maskable"
            "src": "assets/icons/icon-96x96.png",
            "sizes": "96x96",
            "type": "image/png",
            "purpose": "any maskable"
    "theme_color": "#ffcc09",
    "background_color": "#ffffff",
    "display": "standalone",
    "scope": "/",
    "start_url": "/",
    "description": "Built with ❤ of Primathon."

Let’s discuss how Progressive Web Apps are competing with native apps.

Native AppsProgressive Web App
A native app is built specially for one platformPWA is an app that runs in a browser and behaves pretty much like a native app
The separate code base for each platform such as Android, iOSDon’t need separate code base, don’t need to install from Google Play or App Store
Unbeatable user-experience due to native hardware accessSuperior user-experience through modern web standards
Require higher budget to write platform-specific code Relatively cheaper than native app as runs on multiple platforms with a single code
Need to download from the app store“Add to Home Screen” prompts and runs directly in a browser
Requires more spaceVery little space is used
Need higher data consumption and networkWorks well in small network and offline

Future with Progressive Web Applications

PWAs are powerful, effective, fast and app-like. 

It’s hard to imagine a mobile web property that could not be significantly improved via PWA implementation. They can also potentially eliminate the need for many “vanity” native apps that exist today. 

In short, now is the time to integrate these technologies into your ecosystem of customer touchpoints. 

Any and all projects including efforts pertaining to the mobile web need to take a long, hard look at Progressive Web Apps. If you’d like to discuss your specific situation in detail with us, drop us a line.

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