The App Development Opportunities And Challenges With Progressive Web Apps

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Last updated on May 13th, 2024

Need to check the weather? An update on expenditure? Next business meeting’s schedule? There’s an app for everything today. After all, about 66.6% (5.22 billion) of the total world population today has a mobile phone, so apps are the best way to cater to them.  And don’t for a minute think this applies only to consumer-facing businesses. Enterprise tools and products are also being forced to go the app way and even more so post the pandemic. 

The focus of every business is to retain existing customers and tap into a new market. But several factors like slow website, incompatibility with devices, etc. can create a negative impression. This is where progressive web apps become more significant. Research shows that progressive web apps (PWAs) bring a 133.67% increase in page views, and engagement can rise by 137%. 

What are Progressive Web Apps

PWAs are built with web technologies like JavaScript, HTML, and CSS, just like a website, but feel like an app with features to send push notifications, offline working mode, create shortcuts on the home page, etc. for enhanced convenience. They are built in a specific programming language for different device platforms like Android and iOS and can be added through the website itself.

Benefits of Developing Progressive Web Apps

With promising statistics of success, it is safe to say that progressive web apps present great opportunities to businesses for their app development. These benefits include:

  • Easy installation and updates

Regular mobile applications have large sizes and take time to install. But PWAs are designed for convenience, allowing browsers to easily install these small size apps on devices and even add a home screen icon. They do not need any Play Store or App Store approval. Users can also access these PWAs with URLs, making them highly shareable. They do not even need constant updates, as updating the browser codebase can enhance the experience of PWAs.

  • Development and maintenance cost

The biggest benefit of developing a PWA is the low overall development and maintenance cost. For creating a native application, the first consideration is to create it for both iOS and Android. This can be a huge investment, especially if companies want instant, huge ROI. In comparison to this expense, PWAs come a lot cheaper with almost the same functionalities and features.

  • SEO optimized

On top of low data consumption and small storage requirements, PWAs are also SEO optimized. As they are developed through web browsers, they can be indexed on search engines as well. This increases the page views and comes in handy as a great marketing plan to incorporate for growing enterprises and startups.

  • Faster performance

Dependent on cache data, PWAs manage text, images, and all app content very efficiently, improving performance. With a faster app experience, the user experience and conversion rate also improve. Better user experience not only translates into customer retention but also customer loyalty. The PWA of ticket booking site BookMyShow is 200 times smaller than the iOS app and about 50 times smaller than its Android counterpart. This makes it blazingly fast to load. 

  • Device compatibility

Every device has compatible browsers installed. PWAs can leverage this and run a code directly through the browser. They do not have to develop entirely new codebases for windows, iOS, and Android. With one overarching codebase, PWAs give entrepreneurs a quick way to tap a huge market with features similar to native apps.

  • Offline operations

These days, people rarely use a mobile device offline. Still, several companies and individuals may need to access an application without data connectivity or with poor connectivity. The PWAs can be offline and still show the data already retrieved from the network, instead of leaving the apps unusable. However, they cannot fetch external information without the internet. But in low connectivity like 2G, PWAs like Uber can easily work.

  • Independent of app distribution services

Did you know that Apple charges a 20% commission on all app purchases through App Store? But with PWAs, enterprises can skip distribution services like the Play Store and App Store, and directly offer installation from the web browser. 

  • Push notifications

To make the best out of content advertising, push notifications must be a part of all marketing strategies. PWAs can access the device settings to easily send push notifications and gain more traction in comparison to emailers and blog posts. Even if the user is not opening the app through a notification, it adds to the brand recognition. 

  • Native look and feel

By making the PWAs more user-friendly with an attractive interface, companies can give their customers a native app’s look and feel. PWAs offer the same tools and technologies as a native app, bringing the comprehensive capacity of the website as well. These applications also have pages indexed on search engines, increasing the page views, and thus, visibility.

Challenges with Progressive Web Apps

  • Limited support for iOS

Progressive web apps work on iOS version 11.3 and above, alongside several glitches on Safari. This leaves out a large user base who can use PWAs on their outdated devices. 

  • Device battery drainage

PWAs are fast and reliable, but they drain the device battery very quickly, and that’s a major drawback. 

  • Limited access to the device

Unlike native apps, PWAs cannot gain complete access to a device. Based on their usability, they can access the speaker, microphone, and location. But to introduce more features or leverage other device-specific capabilities the access limitation can be problematic.

  • Security

With increasing cyberattacks, no web browser is completely secure. This puts PWAs at equal threat. With shorter deadlines for development, security gets further pushed behind. 

  • Payment portals

Due to security concerns, the integration of payment portals is also not very smooth on PWAs.

In Conclusion

When most people install apps and then simply abandon them after a while, PWAs are great for creating an exhaustive marketing strategy. Through notifications and a great user interface, PWAs have fewer chances of app abandonment, too. 

Companies like Trivago also declared a 150% increment in their user base after launching their progressive web app. Other progressive web apps examples include Starbucks, Forbes, Tinder, Twitter PWA, Chrome PWA, and even YouTube Music PWA. To be a part of this revolutionary app development opportunity, connect with Forgeahead today and let us build your next secure and scalable product.

FAQ

What opportunities do Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) offer for app development?

Progressive Web Apps offer several opportunities for app development, including cross-platform compatibility, offline functionality, push notifications, and improved performance.

What challenges do developers face when building Progressive Web Apps?

Some challenges developers may face when building Progressive Web Apps include limited access to device features, browser compatibility issues, and ensuring consistent performance across different devices and network conditions.

How do Progressive Web Apps handle security and data privacy?

Progressive Web Apps adhere to the same security standards as traditional web applications, including HTTPS encryption for secure data transmission. Developers need to ensure that sensitive data is handled securely and that best practices for web security are followed.

What are some best practices for building Progressive Web Apps?

Best practices for building Progressive Web Apps include optimizing performance, implementing responsive design, enabling offline functionality using service workers, and following the principles of progressive enhancement.

What tools and frameworks are available for developing Progressive Web Apps?

There are several tools and frameworks available for developing Progressive Web Apps, including Google’s Workbox for managing service workers, Ionic Framework for building hybrid PWAs, and React.js or Angular for building progressive web apps with JavaScript frameworks.

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