Since its introduction by Google in 2015, progressive web apps or PWAs have been quite popular among developers. The need for developing mobile apps is beyond questions today, and native, cross-platform has existed for quite some time. However, the approach of PWAs has brought some unique benefits.
The techniques of developing PWAs use web stacks like CSS, HTML, and JS to emulate the look and user experience of native applications. In addition, similar to native applications, PWAs promise rich functionality.
PWAs are also preferred because the apps developed using a specific code base are compatible with various devices, or these apps come with cross-platform compatibility. Once you download and install PWAs on your device, you can add them to the home screen and click on them to get redirected to the website. To explain further, with PWAs, you can expect the best experience by combining the experience of visiting a web page and using a mobile application.
In this article, we will talk about how to build progressive web apps. But before that, we will discuss the standout features and technical components of these apps.
Excellent Features of Progressive Web Apps
Though progressive web apps emulate the look and experience of native applications, these have truly unique features.
Progressive web apps can keep users occupied by sending push notifications. These notifications are ideal for informing users of the latest offers and discounts and creating a sense of FOMO. Further, these messages help boost sales by promoting various products and services. In addition, push messages to make a user more interested in opening and using a particular application.
PWAs usually open in a standalone mode, offering an app-like interface. But with full-screen modals and changes in loading operations, progressive web apps can be loaded as full-screen apps. This is especially essential when you are using the apps on devices with smaller screens.
These applications enable an interface or application shell for caching strategies. So, these applications can load essential and varying information every time they are re-opened. With progressive web apps, you don’t need to enter vital and changeable information like payment history, shopping cart, avatars, and messages, every time you return. Thus, you get to enjoy an improved user experience (UX)even in offline mode.
So, even if your internet connection is disrupted or the speed is down, you can easily use these apps.
Progressive web apps come with improved security as these come with HTTPs extensions. Accessing the content is difficult for a hacker or unauthorized users.
Progressive enhancement strategies or principles are used in developing progressive web apps. So, your browser cannot impact your interaction with the website. Further, the quality of your connection will have no role in determining how you interact with the applications.
At the same time, PWAs are responsive and hence meant for devices with varying screen sizes. So, you will get the same experience while using your mobile, tablet, or personal computer.
These applications can get updated independently, making using them more convenient. At the same time, with Web APIs and modular architecture, updates of these applications become free of risks.
Easy Installation and Accessibility
Search engines identify PWAs as applications, but these apps are not distributed through app stores. Further, as these applications are distributed in URL forms, they are discovered without any hassle. As a user, you have to visit a website and add the application to your device’s home screen.
You can click on the application whenever you want to use it.
Use of Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) for Fast Load Times
Due to the use of AMP or accelerated mobile pages in PWAs, these get uploaded very fast. Further, when the apps get loaded fast, the user experience is improved naturally. Again, as speed is an important factor for Google in ranking, AMPs offering better speed become essential in the SEO optimization of these apps.
Technical Components of Progressive Web Apps
The technical components of PWAs determine how performance optimization can be done for these applications. These apps are based on four technical elements: Service Workers, Web Manifest, Transport Layer Security or TLS, and Application Shell Architecture.
The native-app-like interface of a PWA comes from Web Manifest. In other words, with Web App Manifest, a web developer can decide how a user sees the app display and the way it can be launched.
It is a JSON file; with it, a web developer can get a “centralized place” for the metadata of the PWA. The short and full name of the PWA, starting URL, the type, location, size, and links to icons are included in the manifest. Further, a web developer can decide on the address bar’s color theme and splash screen. A developer needs to connect the manifest with a single link in all the headers of website pages for the application of these settings.
Transport Layer Security
These applications work with the security protocol of TLS or Transport Layer Security. This protocol ensures that data exchange between two PWAs is strong and safe. For data integrity, the website should be served through HTTPs, and an SSL certificate should be installed on a server.
Application Shell Architecture
How PWAs are Built
Back-end codes are like endpoints that any progressive web app needs. These codes let you content stored in the server database. However, it’s wise to note that depending on the app, you may not even need server-side endpoints. The app runs on an installed device, cutting the need to require server-side data.
The components involved in front-end and back-end code remain connected to bring the comprehensive functional integrity of the app. Explore the below steps to get a sneak peek into the development of PWAs.
Taking Care of the Web Server
Users can access PWAs through web servers. So, it’s wise to start the work with the development of a web server. You can start a local server by making a new folder using the command prompt and Node.js library combined.
Furthermore, you need to take care of the HTTPS URL where you need to publish your app as soon as it goes live. If your selected host doesn’t offer HTTPS by default, you can choose to serve your website in App services that include HTTPS. GitHub page is another alternative with HTTPS support for hosting your website.
Developing the Start Page of the App
People get to see the first page when they open your app. So, you need to start bringing content to your web server by making the app start page. In this step, you must utilize the folder contents you created in the first step.
Make a new file and write the codes based on the app you are developing. Obviously, the code components differ based on the app function. For example, in a food delivery app, the content is different from the code used in developing the temperature converter. After completing the file, save it with a name and view it on the web server.
Web App Manifest Making
The app you are developing can run on the browser. But, it requires a web app manifest so that it can be installed. Web App Manifest, the JSON file, contains crucial details about the app, including name, icons, and description.
Make a new file containing the metadata details and add an icon image. The added code connects the web app manifest file to the site.
Creating the User Interface of the Progressive Web App
Next, it’s time to add the CSS style to the application and make it very attractive. To add CSS style, we create a new converter.css file and add the code. Further, we reopen the index.html file for referencing the new CSS file with the addition of proper coding within the head tag.
Finally, we visit http://localhost:8080 to see the app before making it installable.
Adding Service Worker
Once you hire us as the progressive web apps development company in India, we will take special care of adding service workers. This technical element is very important to make the PWA fast and functional even if the network condition is poor or completely disrupted.
Service workers are web workers with some specialization. They block the network requests sent from a PWA to offer offline functionality, advanced caching, and continuing background tasks. The background tasks cover getting push notifications, adding badges to the icon of the application, and acquiring from the server.
Installing the PWA
Your PWA already has a service worker and web app manifest at this stage. So, now the app can be installed using supporting browsers.
Rich in features and various technical elements, PWAs are great for app development at a lesser cost. Further, these applications ensure better engagement of the users, convenient and safe application updates, and hassle-free installation. So, if you want to get PWAs built for your business, contact Dream Logo Design, your trusted progressive web apps development company in India. We do Lighthouse auditing of every PWA to be sure of its performance.