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Are PWAs the Future of Mobile? Part 2

Thursday 24 of August, 2017.
Reading Time: 6 minutes.
By Avantica



PWA2_SJ17

In our previous post, we started a discussion about progressive web apps, which you can read here if you haven’t yet.

 

Advantages and Disadvantages of PWAs

Advantages
  • Performance

Using the service worker strategy, you can improve the app performance since you are able to “install” the app that allows Progressive Web Apps to work offline and load faster. That makes these apps a good option for users with slow connections.

  • Development

Developers can create Progressive Web Apps faster by taking advantage of current Web Development Technologies such as Node js, React, Typescript and Javascript.

  • Compatibility

Progressive Web Apps are supported by most modern web browsers (as long as they support Service Workers). Furthermore, at this moment they are able to access most of the native capabilities that allow them to have a natural app feel. You can check your browser’s support here.

  • Security

Progressive Web Apps are only supported by the https protocol; therefore, the app content should be encrypted, making them safer.

  • Documentation

Google is supporting this technology, as part of its effort. You can find lots of documentation and multimedia about this.

  • Installation

Progressive Web Apps are web apps, so users do not have to go to any app store to get them, but can download them through a website. Moreover, using PWAs users will always get the latest version of the application.

 Cons

  • Apple

At this time, Progressive Web Apps are not supported by Apple, however the Apple WebKit team is already working on this, so eventually this will no longer be a disadvantage.

  • Native Capabilities

Despite the fast growth of Progressive Web Apps, there are some native capabilities that are not yet available. 

Who is supporting this movement?

Obviously, if the first big endorsement of PWA came from a Google developer, then this company is the one that would is try to move ahead with the concept. In 2016, Google even had a summit to talk exclusively about progressive web apps. You can watch the videos here: Progressive Web Apps Summit 2016.

 They even have a checklist that breaks down everything that, according to them, needs to be considered in a good PWA. Some features include:

  • Site served over HTTPS
  • Pages responsive over tablets and mobile devices
  • Offline support (at least load something pleasing nice to the user, not the empty screen or the dinosaur game)
  • Ability to add the PWA to the home screen of the mobile device

If you want to delve deeper, please go to the Google checklist. You will find a lot of information regarding PWA and some tools like Lighthouse, which is an automated tool for improving the performance, quality, and correctness of your web apps.  

Success stories

A lot of companies have already moved to PWA in recent months. Google has a showcase with some examples that we are going to present here, so you can see that progressive web apps are more a reality than a dream and we should be aware and prepared. Some of the most representative PWAs are from:

Alibaba

Alibaba.com is the world’s largest online business-to-business (B2B) trading platform. They upgraded their site to a PWA and now they are seeing a 76% increase in total conversions across browsers. Their results:

cel1.png

●      76% higher conversions across browsers

●      14% more monthly active users on iOS; 30% on Android

●      4X higher interaction rate from Ad to Home screen

For more info on this story, click here.

 

 

 

 

Twitter Lite

With 328 million monthly active users Twitter is one of the biggest social platforms in the world. Twitter developed Twitter Lite to deliver a more robust experience, with explicit goals for instant loading, user engagement and lower data consumption. Their results:

cel2.png

●      65% increase in pages per session

●      75% increase in Tweets sent

●      20% decrease in bounce rate

For more information please check here.

 

 

 

The Washington Post

Nearly 55% of their traffic is through mobile devices and their main goal was to have their mobile content load as quickly as possible. Their results:

cel3.png

●     23% increase in mobile search users who returned within 7 days

●      88% improvement in load time for AMP content versus traditional mobile web

●      1000+ articles The Washington Post publishes in AMP HTML daily

Click here for the details.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Weather Channel

They have been forecasting since the 1980s and serve people around the world, so part of the challenge was to support several languages. Their results:cel5.png

●      Progressive web app now available in 62 languages and 178 countries

●      80% improvement in load time

●      Based on this successful global test, the team will expand the PWA to its U.S. site in 2017

For more information please check here.

 

 

 

 

 

Our Final Conclusions…

Progressive Web Apps are a reality. We need to move forward and cover this new area of possibilities since it will become a popular option for mobile development. Mobile is no longer only native, we now have Hybrid development like React Native (or Ionic) and with PWA the spectrum will increase.

Progressive Web Apps are a sufficiently established technology that big players like Twitter, AliBaba, The Washington Post, etc have adopted with great success. PWA allows us to combine the best of the modern web and native features to deliver a robust experience.

There are no guarantees it’ll be the go-forward structure and remain supported by Google forever, but you don’t want to be left behind. There are practical upsides to PWAs that are worth considering regardless of how long it takes to go mainstream.

There's a lot of information, tutorials and a Slack channel behind this movement, and there was even a contest to select the PWA logo, which you can see here. Interestingly, the selected logo was created by Costa Rican Diego Gonzales! Again, Google is pushing this trend and as we all know, when technology is pushed by a giant we need to pay attention.

About Avantica

If you are looking for a software partner who will work towards your own business goals and success, then Avantica is your solution. We offer dedicated teams, team augmentation, and individual projects to our clients, and are constantly looking for the best methodologies in order to give you the best results.


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Are PWAs the future of mobile? Part 1
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