Progressive Web Apps may well dominate the future scenario as far as smartphone interaction is concerned. While requiring very little planning time, they are able to carry out all those taks that users expect from mobile browser native apps. This has been made possible by several new developments related to API and buzzwords.
The concept behind Progressive Apps involves a combination of technologies whose main feature is that they work together in collaboration. The main objective is to provide users with an experience to envy that of mobile app use.
What are Progressive Web App Service Workers?
When discussing Progressive Web Apps, it is also important to mention Service Workers. The latter are very powerful technologies, able to load functionalities offline, but also to send notifications in real time. Their functionalities include background content updating and document caching services.
In brief, a Service Worker is a script which carries out its work behind the scenes, independently from the app which users interact with. It is activated by specific events, such as requests from the network and changes in connectivity. It can also be defined as a proxy, in as far as thanks to this technology we are provided with a way of being informed of an event every time the network sends a request.
Service Workers are extremely powerful and flexible, but also highly complex. In light of this aspect, when they need to work on configurations while bearing in mind their most frequent uses (for example offline use), developers use pre-established models.
Native apps: are they still useful?
Considering the efficiency of Progressive Web Apps and the success that they may well achieve within a few years, are native apps still useful? Nowadays, they are still the most downloaded. As they were developed for a specific operating system however, their days could be numbered.
Although they are able to offer an objectively high quality user experience, they have the disadvantage of being restricted to specific devices. In other words, they are not accessible to all. Another aspect which could lead to doubt over their future regards the download process required to install them on the various devices.
A possible future scenario
One likely future scenario could see Progressive Web Apps overtake native apps. The first ones are already able to combine the most interesting features of mobile device sites with the best features of native apps.
The Progressive Web App (or PWA) is basically just a mobile app which is distributed via web. From the point of view of its working, there are no special differences from native apps.
Among their most distinctive features, it is notable that PWAs do not need to be downloaded from a store. They are in fact able to function autonomously and to load pages even without a high level of connectivity. Progressive Web Apps also guarantee that they are always updated. From the moment they are made available to users, they always use the most recent version.
They are considered more efficient than native apps due to their ability to function on request and the fact that they are always accessible. Another aspect that may soon lead to their definitive victory over native apps involves their lower data consumption levels.
Thanks to PWAs then, a significant global improvement of the user experience is on the horizon, as well as the chance to say goodbye to certain features which are unpopular with users, such as long downloads. This scenario, involving speed and quality could soon lead to the decision, by device end users, to uninstall native apps once and for all.
Translated by Joanne Beckwith