This is the first in our short video series on Progressive Web Apps or PWA’s. In these talks we’re going to be discussing what they are, what they can do and where this is all going.
What is a Web Application itself?
A Web Application is the same as a website in essence. It’s the same as the software that you download and save on your desktop, but accessed through your browser. You’ve probably used a Web App before, we guarantee you have. Things like Google Docs, Gmail and Zero for accountancy, loads of things like that are all Web Applications.
How does this differ from a website?
A website in definition is more informative. It’s like a brochure website or a corporate site. While a web application is functional, feature rich, has interactive elements and is used for engaging with customers or business process.
So what is a Progressive Web App (PWA) ?
So this is where it gets really interesting. Progressive Web Apps are essentially responsive websites with native capabilites. They allow it to be scalable to any device, therefore you only have to build it once. Above all you don’t have to build for iOS, Android or Windows. Therefore making it cost effect, scalable, easy to manage and maintain.
The stand out features for us are: Offline capabilities, Notifications and the ability to have full screen access to your app. This means you don’t have the browser window or controls. Consequently you are just looking at the browser through the web application.
One noteworthy design feature that might excite a lot of people, is being able to have your icon on the home screen or on your desktop for the application.
Where can you see this effect?
Twitter were really quick off the blocks with their PWA as were the FT. app.ft.com is a really good example of how this could work.
Instagram have released a PWA that you can get on mobile, Uber have released one as have Google Maps. So there are a lot of big companies investing their time and money, into this new technology.
The experience in downloading the apps isn’t quite there (as of writing this). Android have seemed to nail it quite well. Everyone is just now waiting for Apple and Windows to come on board. Then as it starts becoming a lot more accessible we will see more PWA’s hitting the market.
Where is this all going?
So the future for PWA’s in our opinion is very bright. There’s a lot of scope to do some really exciting things. As a result we predict as more people discover this technology and computing power becomes more available, we’re going to see some big developments.
As we start breaking out of the mind set of mobile and desktop devices, we’ll start seeing applications become more interface led like:
- Point of sale touch screens.
When we start considering applications that can go across any of these devices, it opens up a whole new world of interesting possibilities. How good would it be if we could just install Spotify onto our Fridge or a Weather App on our Smart Mirror. That kind of flexibility and responsive Web Apps, will really change things.
The Second part of the video series is going to be covering the features in a lot more detail, and comparing the PWA against Native Apps.
Get in touch
Talk to the team if you think you could take advantage of progressive web apps now.