PWA- more power to web apps

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Flipkart, Myntra and Jabong levied their entire ecommerce on mobile apps on March 2015. This decision , however, made “shopping anywhere” difficult as a native app would not provide the same user experience on poor networks. Myntra sales went down by 10 percent therefore.

 

Nov. 2015 , Flipkart was back with Flipkart Lite(mobile website) , a progressive web app . It ran smoothly on all networks and the user experience was just like an app.

This made progressive web apps very popular in India.

 

Progressive web apps are FIRE apps. They are fast , integrated user experience , reliable(available offline) and engaging(notifications to user) apps.

Below are the attributes of Progressive web apps :-

 

  1. Responsive: to fit any form factor
  2. Connectivity independent: Enhanced with Service Workers to let them work offline
  3. App-like-interactions: Most PWA technology stack have shell + content development where app like navigations are present.
  4. Fresh: Transparently always up-to-date thanks to the Service Worker update process
  5. Safe: Served via TLS(HTTPS) (a Service Worker requirement) to prevent snooping
  6. Discoverable: Are identifiable as “applications” thanks to W3C Manifests and Service Worker registration scope allowing search engines to find them
  7. Re-engageable: Can access the re-engagement UIs of the OS; e.g. Push Notifications
  8. Installable: to the home screen through browser-provided prompts, allowing users to “keep” apps they find most useful without the hassle of an app store
  9. Linkable: meaning they’re zero-friction, zero-install, and easy to share. The social power of URLs matters.


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PWAs have some minimum requirements that distinguish them from normal apps. Some of them are :-

  1. Web app manifest
    This is just a json file that gives meta information about the web app. It has information like the icon of the app (which a user sees after installing it in their app drawer), background color of the app, name of the app, short name, and so on.
  2. Service workers
    Service Workers are event-driven workers that run in the background of an application and act as a proxy between the network and application. They are able to intercept network requests and cache information for us in the background. This can be used to load data for offline use. They are a javascript script that listens to events like fetch and install, and they perform tasks.
  3. Served over HTTPS                                                                                                                                                     The web application must be served over a secure network. With services like Cloudfare and LetsEncrypt, it is really easy to get an SSL certificate.



Progressive web apps are not just faster websites with better user experience. They are smart and intuitive. If used above attributes , we can make smarter apps but there is a lot of room for learning and coverage for instance , 3D websites, geotagging etc.

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