As smartphone use continues to grow, more people choose mobile applications to websites for their ease of access and high performance, even with slow internet connections. It is expected that by 2021, 54% of e-commerce sales will be generated on mobile applications rather than traditional websites.
Most responsive websites can’t provide advanced capabilities such as offline support, push notifications, and other native app functionalities that users today expect on their smartphones. These elements are essential for boosting customer engagement and e-commerce conversions. As a result, several e-commerce platforms are considering transforming their responsive websites to Progressive Web Apps.
What Is A PWA (Progressive Web App)?
A Progressive Web App is a web application that can be “installed” on computers or mobile phones. A PWA may function and look like a native mobile application, but it is a website. In the real sense, PWAs are not downloaded and installed per se; instead, they are saved on a device’s home screen and accessed like a mobile application.
Different features such as file access, task scheduling, SMS/MMS functionality, offline storage, location, and device position can be included right into the website using progressive web apps.
PWAs vs Native App?
Many famous brands such as Twitter, Instagram, Uber, and Spotify have moved to PWAs because of the many benefits they offer. PWAs are easier to build and lack the complexity of native mobile applications, and they also load faster compared to native apps, providing a better overall user experience.
PWAs also use a cache-first strategy to store data offline, giving the feel of a native mobile application without the storage requirement and manual updates of native apps. As long as the user has loaded the data, they can access the PWA without an active internet connection.
The only trade-off for PWAs is that they are expensive to build and maintain compared to responsive websites. This is because the screen size of the users’ devices is a crucial consideration, and the website has to be developed several times for the different devices.
However, the long-term benefits outweigh this expense. For instance, the Best Western River North hotel’s new website has seen a 300% revenue increase since adopting PWA technology.
Top 10 Tools and Technologies to Leverage for PWA Development
The important requirements are that it should run on any device and in any browser. You should also enforce the use of HTTPS for good security practice. Multiple development tools can come into play at this stage of development, including:
Polymer’s goal is to function as a complete browser, doing everything a library does. Polymer is one of the best PWA development solutions with reusable components and data syncing capabilities on different devices. As a result, the entire development process is simplified.
Webpack Module Bundler
Webpack makes it much easier to create dependency graphs. A dependency graph eliminates the requirement for managed dependencies, which means you won’t have to link to all JS files at the bottom of your HTML page, reducing the volume of server calls and loading static elements faster.
Magento PWA Studio
Magento PWA Studio is a toolkit for developing a Storefront PWA on a responsive Magento 2 website. It is designed specifically for the Magento 2 platforms and uses powerful frameworks and tools such as UPWARD, PWA-buildpack, and shared Magento server, among other tools, that adhere to the platform’s principle of extensibility.
The Magento PWA studio follows the release patterns for Magento 2 and is always in line with the language’s architectural and development updates. The Magento PWA Studio may have many advantages, but it requires experienced developers to work with it due to the excessive nature of its code.
ScandiPWA is an open-source Magento first theme designed for Magento responsive websites. This theme has excellent performance because it does not require middleware, additional services, or databases. ScandiPWA works with a variety of languages, stores, currencies, and domains.
Scandi also uses GraphQL, allowing pages to render faster using a single-page app approach. It compares the current webpage to its intended representation rather than presenting the entire content on a page. It then applies the changes to the part that was altered.
The PWA builder is a tool for transforming responsive websites to PWAs without any development expertise. This Microsoft tool identifies whether a website can support PWA features. It generates a custom web manifest (a JSON file that informs the browser about your PWA and how it should function when deployed on a device) and multiple service worker versions. This is a valuable tool for developers who want to try out the format with limited time and money or are inexperienced with progressive apps.
React PWA Library
The ReactJS framework is mainly known for its ability to create both single-page and multi-page applications. Initially, React’s the only objective was to split UI into reusable component groups.
The development of visual interfaces in web apps was made simpler as a result of this. ReactJS, as one of the most popular solutions for progressive web app development, provides improved documentation, comprehensive libraries, ecosystem support, and a large developer community, making it an ideal solution for building PWAs.
VueJS offers excellent security features to PWAs and allows for seamless app integration with other applications without much coding. Additionally, the logical structure of VueJS allows developers to design user interface components and reuse them in different applications. It’s simple documentation also makes it easy for beginners to learn and develop web apps.
Before launching your PWA, you can use LightHouse to check your code. This Google PWA performance monitoring tool can be installed as a plugin on the Google Chrome browser. All you have to do is visit the PWA site on your Chrome browser and click on the LightHouse plugin to get analytics on your PWA’s performance.
LightHouse provides analytics regarding your app’s loading ability offline or on slow internet, page load speed, network connection security, and design mobile-friendliness, among other essential features. LightHouse tests your site’s performance and gives you suggestions on how to fix the issues that arise.
To Wrap Up: PWA Advantages
PWAs can give your business a competitive advantage and make the user experience better for your clients. It is essential to be aware of the best tools available in the market and use them to back up your PWAs. The tools discussed in this article will optimize the performance of your progressive web apps and boost your business.
You can learn more about PWA development on our Magazine, and watching some of our videos at the talks section.