To PWA or not to PWA?

Before searching for the answer to this age-old Hamlet's question

To PWA or not to PWA?

Before searching for the answer to this age-old Hamlet's question, first, let's find out what Progressive Web App (PWA) is. So, PWA is a web design development technology using which you can create a website that resembles a mobile application both visually and functionally. This application web page will be displayed in a browser just like an ordinary website. PWA uses HTML, JavaScript, CSS elements. One of the great things about a PWA is that it can work offline without the Internet.

 

WHY DO YOU NEED PWA?

According to statistics, the number of mobile device users is growing steadily and will continue to grow shortly; therefore, the introduction of technologies that allow access to these users, in particular PWA, is becoming more than relevant. 

 

Figure: 1 – Number of smartphone users around the world

Data source

 

Benefits of PWA

Here are some of the reasons making PWA integration into your business a profitable solution:

  1. Adaptability. PWAs adapt to any mobile device, both Android and iOS, tablet and mobile phone, desktop, and laptop. You do not need to develop different solutions for different platforms, as in the case of a classic mobile application.
  2. Availability in an offline mode. PWAs provide session continuity, and this has a positive effect on conversion if we're talking about e-commerce. A user can view and add products to a cart, provide information for delivery, etc.; the registration is completed automatically when the Internet connection is restored.
  3. It does not require manual installation or updating. You don't need to go to the Play Store or App Store to install it and use progressive web apps. You can enter them without any delay. Plus, all the new features and bug fixes become available immediately without any user actions.
  4. High download speed. PWA sites load and respond to user actions much faster than regular sites. This can solve the problem of slow downloads, even with a weak Internet connection.
  5. Interactivity and safety. With push notifications, you can always stay connected with users, increasing their engagement and interest. It is a useful tool for retaining customers and attracting new users. All data is transmitted over the HTTPS protocol, which ensures the security of using progressive applications.

 

A few words about the disadvantages of PWA

Like any other technology, PWA isn't perfect. It also has some drawbacks here are they:

  1. Limitations in iOS. You can run PWA on Apple devices with the operating system version starting from iOS 11.3, but still, there are limitations in any case. Apple prevents PWAs from accessing many essential features, including Touch ID, Face ID, ARKit, Bluetooth, beacons, altimeter sensor, and even battery information.
  2. Incompatibility with older devices. This technology is relatively new, so, naturally, older mobile devices with outdated web browsers support it poorly, if they do it at all. Indeed, this problem will be solved by itself in a few years, when all old devices will become a memory of the past.
  3. PWA yet cannot do all the same things as mobile applications. Compared to traditional web applications, PWA capabilities do not allow you to do exactly all the things that mobile applications can do, and the main reason for this is single-threaded JavaScript. But it continues developing, so we are looking forward to overcoming this limitation.

As you can see, there are not many drawbacks, and none of them is a significant obstacle to the development of this technology.

 

The conclusion is obvious: PWA – to be!