Progressive Web Apps: What They Are and What They Do

The progressive web apps represent, according to many, the future of interaction with our smartphones, to exploit their potential in an innovative way. Let’s see what they are and how they work.

The apps purchased in traditional stores allow you to perform many operations, impossible with apps for Mobile Web browsers. The progressive web apps are used to fill this gap with new Web APIs, new designs and new buzzwords: that is, they allow you to perform the same operations that you would expect to run with native mobile browser apps, with a system that uses standard basic technologies and is accessible by anyone on the web.

The concept of progressive apps indicates a set of technologies that work in harmony, to offer an experience similar to that offered by an app on the mobile web.

After discovering what they are, it is also necessary to describe how Progressive Web Applications work by observing their more technical aspect. The term “progressive” indicates a “progressive improvement” obtained thanks to modern web functions. In this way, in fact, they can also work with older browsers that do not support the new features.

The Service Workers of progressive web apps

The Service Workers of progressive web apps are extremely powerful technologies, which upload offline features, offer notifications, background content updating, content caching service and many other functions. A Service Worker is a script that works behind the scenes, independent of your app, and activates in response to events such as network requests, notifications, connectivity changes and more.

It can be defined as a “proxy”, given that this technology allows us to notice a particular event every time the request from the network starts. We can handle that event with full control: our script behaves exactly like a proxy for the request.

The great power and flexibility of Service Workers make them very complicated and developers generally use pre-established schemes to configure the most common uses, such as offline use: Mozilla and Google are at the forefront in this respect.

Progressive web applications: how they improve the User Experience
More and more often we hear about Progressive Web Applications, but many are also wondering what they are. The Progressive Web Apps appeared in the Windows Store in 2018 after the success achieved within the Google I/0 2016. In practice, the PWA, Progressive Web App, provides an important contribution to developers who work via mobile and Web in order to overcome new boundaries to have integrated and functional platforms for both users and businesses. To understand how they work, however, you need to know their characteristics.

What are the characteristics of Progressive Web Applications?
A Progressive Web Application exploits all the potential of the Web to provide a better User Experience. PWAs represent nothing more than a set of experiences and technology able to combine the best features on the market in the field of Mobile and Web development for the creation of Applications. Below is a complete list with all the features of Progressive Web Applications:

Progressive: they can be used by any user without any difference for the type of browser used. These are built according to the principle of “progressive enhancement”, that is, the more functions the browser offers, the more the Web App offers;

Responsive: these are defined when they are able to adapt to any device such as desktop, smartphone or tablet;

Independent of connectivity: this feature occurs when Web Apps can be used offline or on networks with very poor connectivity thanks to Service Workers;

Similar to the App: the user who uses the Web App will have the impression of using a mobile app because it has the same interactions and the same design;

Updated: Service Workers allow Web Apps to receive a constant update;

Safe: Content and data transfer takes place in maximum security thanks to the use of the HTTPS protocol;

Searchable: Web Apps can be identified as real applications thanks to the W3C manifest;

Loyalty: users are able to create a good feeling with the Web Apps that turn into loyalty thanks to push notifications;

Installable: the user has the possibility to choose whether to make them appear on the home page of his browser without having to log in to the App Store;

Shareable: the Web Apps can be shared via links because they do not require particular installations.

Advantages of Progressive Web Applications

Resorting to the use of Web Apps undoubtedly entails a series of advantages because they offer very efficient solutions for both internal users and customers. Today, in fact, the daily use of smartphones and tablets makes it necessary to use the Web Apps which in this way represent the best solution also to achieve all the company’s objectives.

Thanks to the Web Apps it is possible to save both time and money, but above all accessibility is guaranteed on any device thanks to Progressive Web Applications. Among the other advantages, in fact, the increase in the performance of a website should be highlighted thanks to the speed of loading. The development of the latter can also prove useful for any type of project.

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