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All You Need to Know About Progressive Web Apps

Today websites have become synonymous with success in the business world. Therefore companies are investing in website development services with great zeal and enthusiasm. When it comes to developing websites a common problem that is widely faced by all businesses is to pick the right website development platform. Although there are lots of platforms out there you can pick any one that suits your business requirements and build a web solution.

Providing fast, reliable, and user-friendly services are the success mantra for many online businesses. Hence they keep looking for ways to improve their services. One great idea in this regard is to have a progressive web app for your business website. Many businesses are trying to convert their online stores into progressive web apps to provide efficient and better services. So let’s see what is a PWA and how you can create a PWA for your online store.

What is a PWA?

A Progressive Web App or PWA is a next-gen web technology that delivers outstanding user-experience across different devices. A PWA is a kind of website that possesses the attributes of a mobile or desktop application. It means that it is a website that you can install on your computer or mobile device then do all the things that you do on a website. Progressive web apps are a revolutionary solution for online businesses as they provide fast, convenient, and attractive means of shopping to customers.

Benefits of progressive web apps

Low development cost

Website development is not an easy task and requires an immense budget that can actually break the bank. By developing a PWA, you can save that cost as developing a progressive web app is cheaper than developing a full-fledged website. Further, you don’t need to spend money on different versions of websites and can have a single PWA to serve both desktop and mobile users. So you can save a lot of cost by opting for PWA development instead of creating a stand-alone website.

App-like and attractive

The best thing about progressive web apps is that they look like native desktop or mobile applications. This is because these PWAs offer an app-like interface that allows users to interact with the PWA just like they interact with a desktop or mobile application. And these apps have an attractive look and feel.
Quick and easy installation

PWAs are installable which means you can install a progressive web app on your desktop or mobile device just like you install a native application. And, the installation process is quite easy as you don’t have to follow a complex installation process like native apps. When a PWA is available for a website, you can simply click on the “Add to Home screen” option available from the settings menu in your web browser to install the app.

Fast and responsive

PWAs are known for their speeds. Unlike a native desktop or mobile app, PWAs can load very quickly. Further, these progressive web apps offer the best user experience across different devices.

Easy to share and always fresh

You can share a progressive web app via links that make it easy for other users to install the app on their devices. Another key advantage of PWAs is that they always remain fresh. It means unlike a native desktop or mobile application, you don’t need to update a progressive web app regularly.

Security

Security is one of the key advantages of choosing PWA development as these web apps are quite secure because they are served through HTTPS protocol. Hence you can offer a secure and fast solution to your customers that they will use to make purchases.

Discoverability

Progressive web apps are discoverable which means people can find PWAs on search engine results pages. Indeed progressive web apps can be accessed and users can access them through links on social media or search engines.

Cross-browser compatible

Progressive web apps are cross-browser compatible and run on different devices that make these apps a good choice for businesses. By opting for a progressive web app development service, you can reach your customers more efficiently.

How to turn your website into a PWA?

You can convert your website into a PWA in two ways, one is to convert it manually, and the second hire PWA developer to convert it. You can convert your website into a PWA by yourself if you know of it. Below are some steps to create progressive web apps.

Step 1: Load URL

First of all, you need to clone the GitHub repository using the git command:

$ git clone https://github.com/googlecodelabs/migrate-to-progressive-web-apps.git

This will create a ‘Migrate to PWA directory’. Upload the work file for this codelab and make any changes you require.

Simple HTTP Server app will be used to serve the file on port 8887. Then you can load the URL easily.

Step 2: Check the site on a mobile

Plug your mobile device with your computer system and type URL – chrome://inspect then access your site at http://localhost:8887/ on an android device.

Step 3: Add modern head tags

Firstly, you need to make your website responsive or mobile-friendly and then include a web app manifest. The manifest file contains the meta-information related to your progressive web app. You will have to link the manifest file in your HTML code using the <link> tag. After this open a text editor and create the JSON file and save that file as manifest.json. Now reload it on a mobile device then choose “Add to Home screen” to add the app to the home screen.

Step 4: Add a service worker

You now need to add a service worker that contains a background that will run in a web browser when the user isn’t using the webpage. It is used for providing offline support. The next thing is to register the service worker in the website code.

Step 5: Make the app work offline

Now you need to open your sw.js or service worker script file and access the cached objects. The code needs to be updated to allow for caching on the website. You can check if the app is working by uninstalling the PWA and then refresh the browser page and reinstall the app.
Finally! You have completed the PWA.

Wrapping up

As online businesses are flourishing around the world, the need for more efficient and user-friendly services are arising. If you have an online store, you can create a progressive web app for it to provide efficient, user-friendly, secure, and fast means of shopping to your customers. By choosing progressive web app development you can create an outstanding web app that will run on both desktops and mobile devices and provide native-app-like functionalities.

Author’s Bio:

Emily White is a senior developer with great experience in developing websites. She has been working at CSSChopper which, a renowned customized website development company. Emily is also fond of writing blogs and articles and likes sharing knowledge with readers.