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What is a progressive web app (PWA)

What is a progressive web app (PWA)?

Have you recently embarked on an app development journey? Have you heard the term progressive web app or PWA mentioned in conversations, but you have no idea what it means? Interestingly, it’s actually not a formal or official name – it’s just a nickname used by Google to describe adaptable or flexible applications that are created using only web tech. This is a broad classification that doesn’t offer much detail, so let’s break down the unofficial term some more. It’s not as complicated as it may seem.

The definition of a progressive web app

A PWA is essentially a web app that is developed in a particular way and uses specific patterns, features, web technologies and APIs, which allow it to have web and native app features. A PWA is really a website that imitates an app. It’s designed and optimised to perform like a typical mobile app. Because it’s basically a website, you don’t need to download a PWA from an app store – you can easily navigate to it on your browser and immediately enjoy its user-friendly interface.

According to a Mozilla article, here are some key things that identify a web app as a PWA:

  • Easily found through search engines
  • Installable on a device’s home screen or app launcher
  • Effortlessly shared it by sending a URL
  • Works offline or with a bad connection
  • Usable on older browsers and fully functional on newer browsers 
  • Sends notifications when new content becomes available
  • Usable on any device with a screen and browser
  • Offers secure connections between the user, app and server

The benefits

  • Once a PWA is installed, it has very fast loading times
  • With a PWA, you only have to update the content that has changed (not the whole app)
  • The look and feel of a PWA is more integrated with the native platform
  • PWA notifications and messages result in more engaged users and better conversion rates

Some successful examples of PWAs include Spotify, Pinterest, Twitter and Uber. If you’d like to explore the opportunity of building a PWA for your business, get in touch with us.

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Louise is the write woman to be the Marketing Manager at Flicker Leap.

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