A study by Gartner showed that more than 50 percent of all native mobile applications will be replaced by Progressive Web Apps (PWA) within the next few years. But what exactly are PWAs?
A Progressive Web App closes the gap between web applications and native apps due to their special features. PWAs have existed since the 2000s and were initiated by Apple. Due to a Google initiative starting about 5 years ago, they are now attracting more attention again and benefit from further development efforts, e.g. Progressive Web Apps are supported by Google’s own browser Chrome since 2017 and shortly afterwards Safari, Firefox and Edge Chromium have followed suit. The approach combines the best of all worlds, a native app, a responsive HTML5 website and a web application.
The Progressive Web App is considered the key technology in the fusion of mobile, desktop and web.
The browser as an operating system
Today, software is no longer developed for a specific operating system, but for mobile use, for various target platforms, environments and devices. The connecting element of these platforms and environments is the browser, and this is where progressive web apps have their decisive advantage. Instead of native apps for a specific operating system, today cross-platform web-based systems are implemented. The browser is therefore the new operating system.
The development effort is greatly reduced
The development effort of a PWA is significantly lower compared to a native app (iOS, Android, Windows Phone) for the respective operating systems such as Windows, MacOS and Linux. The unique programming for all end devices with a suitable browser also shortens the time needed to further develop existing applications.
Advantages of a native app with less complexity
Advanced web applications have set the goal of standardizing the development of software and thus realizing new application possibilities and simplifications. Especially in the B2B area and in cross-location business processes or in the interface to the customer, PWAs bring decisive advantages. Simply put, next generation app development.
Like native apps, progressive web apps can access device functions such as camera, motion sensor and microphone. Because Progressive Web Apps offer the same functionality, they can create applications that users cannot distinguish from a native app. Another advantage is offline availability and low complexity for enterprise applications between desktop, mobile and web.
Easy and flexible installation
What can be added directly after entering the URL as an icon on the home screen and an installation via App or Play Store is no longer necessary. This reduces the administrative effort for registering the app and simplifies distribution, development and updates. Delivery via web server instead of an app store eliminates lengthy release cycles and checks by the store operators. Beta testing can be done directly in the browser. The monetization concept is also simplified: No app store commissions are charged for sales of the app, which results in cost savings for large and small companies. Despite the reduction in commissions, the manufacturers of the major mobile platforms such as Apple and Google have recognized PWAs as the technology of the future.
All modern browsers support PWAs
The functions in modern browsers are fully exploited. With features such as full-screen display (without address bar), offline capability and push notifications combined with the advantages of web apps, PWAs form a solid foundation for your project – with full comfort and native app experience.
The development and deployment process are kept short by publishing through your website – this reduces effort and increases user comfort. If you want to learn more about the advantages of PWAs for your company, please feel free to contact us.