What Are Progressive Web Apps (PWAs)?

Progressive web apps (PWAs) are a particular type of web app that is fairly modern in the digital world. PWAs combine desirable features of both native and hybrid apps. 

Like any web app should, PWAs reside in a web browser. Users can access PWAs there like any website. Still, having a PWA means going through the classic download and install process that users expect with mobile apps. But this is a good thing as PWAs can always be readily available from the user’s device. 

Both the Google Play Store and the Microsoft Store welcome PWAs to their platform. So in some ways, a PWA is like a mobile app.

Progressive web apps launch from a user’s device without the need to open a web browser first and they can send push notifications directly to your mobile device. They can also work offline and load in a jiffy. 

According to Frances Barriman and Alex Russell, the original Google engineers who gave PWAs their name, PWAs fit the following criteria:

  • responsive
  • connectivity independent
  • app-like interactions
  • fresh
  • safe
  • discoverable
  • re-engagable 
  • installable 
  • linkable 

What makes PWAs so alluring is their performance. A concept like web apps should be alluring in itself because of its cross-platform capabilities.

But in reality, most everyone in the software development industry believe web apps and hybrid apps have slower performance than native apps. 

Progressive web apps defy this stereotype. Though it is important to keep in mind that PWAs do not intend to take mobile apps’ role. 

No, PWAs are best defined as traditional websites in mobile app packaging. In this way, they are not as interactive as a conventional web app nor as boring or inaccessible as a standard website. 

PWAs are unique in standing; they break the mold of what a web visitor or smartphone user anticipates. 

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