Google introduced Progressive web apps back in 2015. And till now, they are continuously setting new standards for user experience. Created by Frances Berriman and Engineer Alex Russell, Progressive Web App development combines new technologies with established practices to create a reliable, accessible and engaging experience.
What is a Progressive Web Application? – Future of Mobile Web Browsing!
Progressive web apps have the best aspects of traditional web pages and the latest mobile apps. The idea is to streamline the development by utilizing multiple technologies and develop sites that look alike mobile apps.
Why go Progressive?
Whenever a user wants to install an app, it is required to visit the app store, download and install the application. Progressive web apps allow users to skip some of these and engage with the app immediately.
Here are the Highlights:
1. Reliable Offline Functionality: Users can always access the information regardless of the network connections. Whenever a change is made, it gets saved automatically. This not only makes it easy-to-use for users but also retains them.
2. Maximize Reach: Internet users are continuously increasing. A progressive web app helps a business to reach the maximum users across various platforms in the least development time. What else can be better if you can reach the maximum audience in less time?
3. Responsiveness: Progressive web apps adapt to different screen sizes and types ensuring a reliable user experience. Good responsive design makes sure that the application is compatible with the new devices in the near future.
4. Engaging: Native apps make it easy for users to access the app with the help of an icon. Moreover, the push notifications help to alert users about the new updates. This same feature is also available in the PWA’s.
More Benefits of PWA:
- PWAs are more search engine friendly and are easier to use & discover.
- The apps retain & reload their state when users bookmark or share their URLs.
- Progressive web apps are developed on the app shell model with a goal to minimize page refreshes.
- It continues to work with low or no connectivity.
- Engages users with push notifications.
- The app is hosted over HTTPS to ensure security.
When you have finally understood the importance of progressive web app, let’s explore the steps to develop a progressive web app:
Developing a Successful Progressive Web Application
Progressive web apps bring plenty of benefits and functionalities to the web but they don’t require recoding the entire application. Progressive Web App can be created from an existing app or website. Any app or website can be transformed into a PWA by adding some new extra layers.
Let’s Discuss How to Create Progressive Web Apps from Scratch:
There is no reinventing the wheel. Well-known and fundamental practices are taken into consideration with ordinary source code. Creating a to-do list takes the developer one step ahead of the normal “Hello World”, which is a standard example of any new technology.
1. Service Worker
To have a full spectrum of progressive web app goodies inclusive of push notifications, caching & install prompts, you need a service worker.
A service worker is an event-driven worker running in the background of an application and acts as a proxy between the network and app. Service worker intercepts the network requests and cache information in the background. This loads the data for offline use.
Tap into the three key service worker lifecycle events by commanding to ‘install’ when the user visits the page, ‘activate’ after registration completes and ‘fetch’ when the app makes a network request.
2. Push Notifications
Service workers give the ability to users to receive push notifications with the web Push API. Access the self.registration.pushManager from the service worker file. As you are creating the app from scratch, it’s recommended to use Google’s Firebase service along with Firebase Cloud Messaging for easy push notifications.
3. Web App Manifest
To make the application installable, include the manifest.json in the root directory. This is basically a description of the app, something similar to what you submit to the Google store. This has icons, splash screen, name, and a few descriptive lines.
The configuration regarding how the application appears when launched from the user’s home screen. Do you want the address bar in the browser? Do you want any color in the status bar? Manifest.json has a full spectrum of icon sizes for different devices.
4. Install Prompt
When a user has PWA having a service worker and manifests, Chrome auto-prompts to install the app to the home screen. But for this, the user should visit the site twice, with five minutes difference between the visits.
Intercept the before install prompt so that it gets saved for later use and then deploy prompt.
5. Evaluate your App Performance
Performance is all that matters in progressive web applications. The app should run fast for all network conditions. Caching and offline ability help a lot but the app should be speedy, no matter if the user has the browser that supports the app or not. The progressive enhancement provides a great experience for everyone, regardless of the device type or network conditions.
For this, a useful set of RAIL system is used. According to Google, RAIL is a user-centric performance model’, that has a set of guidelines for measuring the app’s performance. RAIL stands for:
- R: Response time
- A: Animation (60fps speed)
- I: Idle (caches additional assets when idle)
- L: Load
6. Lighthouse Audit
Google is the big giant that is continuously pushing Progressive Web App development as the web future. It has a useful tool for guiding PWA development. The Chrome extension is termed as ‘Lighthouse’ and now it is the part of the Chrome DevTools under the ‘AUdit LAbs’.
Lighthouse runs the app under various circumstances and measures the success as per the PWA guidelines. It scores out of 100 and also scores the app on web-based practices simultaneously.
Here is the List of Value that Lighthouse Measures:
- Registers a service worker
- Responds 200 when offline
- Utilization of HTTPS
- HTTP traffic redirects to HTTPS
- 3G page load is quicker
- User prompt to install the web app
- Custom splash screen configured
- Viewport meta name tag and initial scale width
- Content size correct for the viewport
7. Serve over HTTPS
SLL(Secure Socket Layer) gives an extra layer of security to the web so that the users feel secure while browsing the site. Services like Cloudflare and LetsEncrypt easily get the SSL certificate. Having a secure site is the best practice as it establishes your web app for users demonstrating reliability avoiding intruder attacks.
This post is just an appetizer, there is a lot more to do while creating the best progressive web application. It is recommended that you hire a progressive web app developer or development team having the expertise, experience, and dedication to complete your project within time & budget.
Progressive web app development is a long term investment that brings along numerous benefits for your business. Adopting PWA adds wings to the success of your business by giving amazing growth. It also bridges the gap between mobile apps and desktop websites. If you will provide a great web experience to the user, they will surely thank you for this!
Searching for a progressive web app development company? Look no further, we are here to help! Just drop your requirements at firstname.lastname@example.org and our team will get in touch with you shortly.