Progressive Web App Development
Havе you ever sееn a site interacting with the user as an application? Is it possible to get the site installed on any gadget, receive notifications and use it even offline? This is the reality that Google is actively promoting, and in this article, you will know all the details.
Progressive Web Apps were announced 4 years ago. This format of creating mobile sites attracted attention due to the relative ease of development and almost instant user interaction. Already in May 2016, at the Google I/O Developer Conference, The Washington Post demonstrated its mobile hybrid website application.
PWA is a sort of web applications based on a stack of web and mobile innovations (JavaScript, CSS, HTML and Service Worker). PWAs look and behave with the client as native applications. Advances in the improvement of browsers, cache, and push-interfaces permitted to get the application installed on the home screen straightforwardly from the browser, get pop-up notifications and even work without Internet connection. This is an absolute necessity for organizations working in E-commerce, Shopify segment, where keeping up consistent communication with the client winds up one of the keys to be the best.
There is a number of PWAs features which are worth considering:
• Progressive — works for any user, regardless of browser (Firefox, Safari, etc), since the main principle here is a progressive improvement.
• Responsive — suitable for any form of devices: desktops, smartphones, tablets or anything else.
• Internet free — using the service worker, it can work offline or on slow networks.
• Fresh — always with new information thanks to the update process of Service worker.
• Secure — transmits data over HTTPS to prevent interception or spoofing of data.
• Indexable — although it is referred to as an “application“, the W3C manifest and register the service worker to allow search engines to find it.
• Engaging — attract users to an application is easier thanks to features like push notifications.
• Fast to install — enables clients to ‘spare’ the most helpful applications on the home screen, without utilizing the application store.
• Easy-reachable — it is anything but difficult to impart to the assistance of the URL, it does not require a full installation.
• Similar to an application — for the user it feels like an application, with all its interactions and navigation, as it is based on the app shell model.
Progressive web app browser support & compatibility
PWA doesn’t nееd to pass any quality tеsts but it will just work with the hand of the browser. This mеans that you can launch applications that are not endorsed in the store, however you can’t accеss native options, for example, Face ID on iPhone X or ARKit for enlarged rеality. Or then again you have to trust that the web stage will gain accеss to these attachments. PWA can work inside Safari like some other site, as wеll as disconnected, likе some other application in the system.
PWA features on IOS
• Geolocation
• Sensors (Magnetometer, Accelerometer, Gyroscope)
• Camera
• Audio output
• Speech synthesis (only with connected headsets)
• Apple pay
• WebAssembly, WebRTC, WebGL, as well as many other experimental technologies and frameworks.
Limitations compared to native IOS apps
1. The application can only have local data and files up to 50 MB.
2. If the user does not use the app for several weeks, IOS will clean all data. The icon will still be on the main screen, and upon a new launch, the application will be loaded again.
3. No access to:
•  some functions, such as Bluetooth, serial port, beacons, touch ID, person ID, ARKit, altimeter sensor, battery information.
• code execution in the background.
• private information(contacts, location), and to native social applications.
• In-App Payments(embedded payments) and many other Apple services.
• working with Side or Split Views, PWA will always use full screen on IPads.
5. No push notifications, no badge or Siri integration.
Differences between PWA Android and IOS
• On Android, you can store more than 50 MB
• Android does not delete files if you are not using the application but can delete files under pressure from the shared storage. In addition, if a PWA user utilizes a large file size, PWA may request persistent storage
• Bluetooth access for BLE devices
• Web share to access the share dialog
• Speech recognition
• Background Sync and Web Push Notifications
• A banner on the site to suggest the user get the application as PWA installed
• You can customize the screensaver and the orientation you need
• WebAPK and Chrome users cannot install multiple instances of PWA
• In the WebAPK and Chrome, PWA is displayed in the ‘Settings’ section, and you can see the use of data
• WebAPK and Chrome PWA are monitoring URLs, so if you get a link to PWA, it will be opened offline, not in a browser window.
Take into account that every browser and application that uses WebView, such supports Service Workers only with the appropriate versions. Supported browsers for progressive web apps are Chrome 40, Safari 11.1, Firefox 44, Edge 17.
Why should you build a progressive web app?
Progressive mobile applications are a product of the joint evolution of the mobile site and the native application. Simply put, a hybrid that incorporates the very best of its predecessors. Now, the ease of installation and opening of the mobile site and the functionality of the native application (push notifications, GPS-navigation, and other native functions) became united.
This technology benefits both customers and users. Such an application can be developed several times cheaper and faster than the native one, which opens up many new opportunities for small companies. For users, the benefits are no less significant: it does not take up space in the phone’s memory, there is no need to download the application from stores.
One of the very advantages of PWA over native apps is the absence of a middleman in the face of the App Store and Google Play app stores. Progressive web technology applications completely eliminate them. The lack of app stores for developers means that they no longer need to be guided by the established rules and policies of Apple and Google, and for users – simplified installation procedures. In order to open PWA, it is enough to go to the company’s website from a mobile device, and the linked web application will open automatically. At the same time, you can install the icon of such an application on the phone screen. To do this, in the automatically open dialog box, you must agree with the installation. This installation method is very different from the installation of a normal (native) application. In fact, The PWA icon is a picture with a link to a web application that opens through a browser, with which the user can launch the application he likes at any time. Another important difference between the PWA and the ‘heavy native’ is that PWA occupies almost no space in the user’s phone memory.
Google has published case studies of companies that have implemented progressive Web Apps. Their results are encouraging:
• AliExpress increased the conversion rate for new users by 104%.
• United eXtra Electronics showed a 4-fold increase in visitor returns and increased sales from users by 100%, that comes as a result of interacting with pop-up notifications.
• 5miles reduced the bounce rate by 50% and increased conversions by 30%.
• Konga uses 92% less data for initial loading compared to downloading their native application.
Hire progressive web app developers
There is a whale of information about creating progressive web applications on the Internet, but for the most part, it is outdated, and many sources contain only fragments of what you need to create an application. The best idea for developing the PWA is to hire a professional team of engineers from the top agency who face this process daily. Also, the team should be familiar with the difficulties that could appear in the project, e.g. IOS and Android limitations, caching.
For the development process they should know the following technologies:
• Angular.js (framework designed specifically for developing responsive applications and dynamic websites).
• TypeScript (programming language).
• Service Worker API (technology that transforms a website into a progressive application).
• SaSS – (tool for creating web styles.pages).
• HTML5 / CSS3(language and set of styles for work with UI ).
Nowadays, the ratio of progressive web apps in the e-commerce segment is 40 out of 100 applications. This means that there is a fairly promising opportunity to attract the maximum of the target audience and make its interaction with your company as efficient as possible.
Building progressive apps, we proceed from the understanding that this solution should work equally adequately on all operating systems. For 2 years, Multi-Programming Solutions deals with the developing PWAs and this experience allows us to get a clear understanding of all the development stages. Since we know the problems that we will overcome during the building process in advance, it allows us to reduce the time and resources to solve them.
Message us or call our managers from San Diego, USA and London, UK to get your first PWA!

Author's Bio: 

Software Development for Your Company's Growth