How to Shift to a Progressive Web App (PWA) ?

The world of technologies, and in particular, web apps has gone through a revolutionary period when PWAs appeared. A novelty in e-commerce management with the help of a surprisingly simple, but at the same time multifunctional tool, made it possible to achieve tangible progress in the online business industry. 

This progress has affected such areas as user experience, online store usability, sales, conversions, traffic, virality and many others. 

Many entrepreneurs have wondered about how to transform their web app into a progressive web app, and it turned out to be quite easy. 

This post is a guide designed to help you to do it right. 

Classic web app vs. Progressive Web App (PWA)

 

First of all we have to understand how normal web app distinguishes from progressive.

Quick service

PWAs can gather data in cache and provide the pieces of content to users even when the page is not fully loaded yet.

Ease of access

Unlike common mobile apps, PWAs do not take long time to loading and take up little storage space. PWAs can be shared and installed directly through the link address. The icon is always on the user’s home screen, helping brands stay in users’ memory, increasing the chances of engagement.

Native experience

The combination of web tech and native mobile features of PWAs, provides an experience of a native mobile app, including push notifications, without being tied to a browser. 

Reasonable building cost

App Store is no longer must-have, what makes it much more cost-effective than normal mobile apps with the same level of functionality.

Updated access to data in real time

PWAs update themselves, so users do not have to go to external platforms to download and install an updated version.

Discoverability

PWAs are hosted in browsers. This increases the chances of meeting the quality SEO criteria and improving search rankings.

Why the website itself is not enough?

Okay, but why should we implement web apps into websites? 

A website is a collection of interconnected and / or independent web pages where copies, visuals, audio, video and other types of digital data are presented. Such pages refer to a static source of useful information. Websites alone are great when you want to showcase something with no need for user engagement (portfolio, bio, offer for offline deals, event poster without CTA requirements (private meeting etc.).

A web app is a kind of web tool that has similar design with a website, but has much richer functionality, and provides easier interactions with various features. For example, you can place an order, become a member of the community, or look for other people to communicate. Apps are best when interaction with a person on the other side of the screen is required.

Web applications usually require user authentication for full access to all functionality, while websites do not require it, as there is no desire to motivate or call you to any action. 

PWA benefits for mobile devices

There is no need to create a few apps special for Android, iOS and desktops. All in 1 PWAs provide and access in any browser on any mobile device, with no matter of its OS. In addition:

  • Work offline while showing higher performance on slow connections;
  • Background sync and faster loading times;
  • Unpretentious compared to native apps in terms of updates;
  • Faster and generally cheaper design and implementation process;
  • Push notifications with no requirement of presence in the app;
  • Broad access to mobile device’s resources.

How to convert classic web app into PWA?

There are 2 ways you can follow if you want to shift from an old approach to innovative (read: progressive):

  • Do it yourself
  1. Hire PWA development company

In first case, you should to make sure your PWA meets HTTPS requirements and quick response in case of intermittent connections. The next step is to purchase a service worker and to apply a manifest file.

A service worker is a JavaScript file that works as a third-party item: it provides background connection between customer and server for uninterrupted offline operation, updates, and caching. An application manifest is a JSON file that provides PWA role information to the browser, as well as valuable application metadata and launch options.

After you have acquired all these components, you can start converting your web app to a progressive web app. The main necessary steps are listed below:

  1. Manifest file creation — adding this file in directory.
  2. Linking this file to the HTML template. 
  3. A service worker creation and registration.
  4. A service worker setting by creating a separate working file in the directory.
  5. Installation and activation
  6. Getting your new assistant.
  7. Applying in action.

If you decide to outsource PWA development, here are also 2 ways to follow:

  1. Full outsource – you can hire web-app design company or agency,
  2. Partial outsource – you can use web-app builders. 

Conclusion

Based on the latest stats’ data, PWAs are a great supplementation and cost-effective substitution to mobile or web apps. Since PWAs are improved versions of web apps, investing in PWA projects will have a great ROI.

The use of web apps grows, and users claim more and more seamless experience and faster interactions, so it makes sense for all types of companies to switch into PWA in their online presence.

 

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