What is so special about Progressive Web Apps?

As the world is moving more and more towards mobile-only trend websites start to adjust to it. Most websites already are responsive or have a mobile version. But it seems like it is not enough.

Although Progressive Web App (PWA) is trending right now it is not that new at all. It was introduced back in 2015 by Google and since then was brought up occasionally until the start of the mobile-first trend. But what is a PWA exactly?

Progressive Web App is just what it sounds like — a web application that appears like a native app on mobile devices. It contains specific elements that allow it to run smoothly despite the quality of network connection, to open without showing the URL and even to work offline. The main purpose of PWA is to make user experience with the website better and increase their engagement. In fact, half of the mobile users leave the website if it loads longer than 3 seconds. Since the PWA is loading quicker and behaves like a native app users are more likely to use it.

There are 3 requirements the website must meet to be called a progressive web app. Those elements are what makes the website performance so similar to native apps.

1. It must run under HTTPS.

HTTPS is a protocol required for the proper function of a service worker. It allows the data to be transferred securely between the server and web pages making it protected from attacks.

2. It must include a Web App Manifest.

The Web App Manifest is a JSON file that allows the PWA to be “installed” to the home screen and run without the network connection. The file contains the information about the app such as an icon, app interface, and the offline features.

3. It must implement a service worker.

A service worker is a script that runs in the background and allows for the features that don’t require a user or website interaction. The service worker caches information so the PWA could be used offline. It also sends push-notification encouraging users to interact with the app more.

More and more websites are implementing the elements of PWA to drive more traffic to the website and to promote businesses and their services. As most browsers are supporting PWAs they are the better solutions when it comes to mobile devices. They are generally cheaper to develop and maintain than a native app and allows for more features than a simple mobile version.

During the ever-growing mobile-first trend moving a step closer to the better user experience on a mobile device is always a good choice.

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