Progressive Web apps (PWAs) have been an open topic for a few years now, but not until recently, have they become so interesting. Nowadays, every second app you run on our mobile/desktop devices is essentially a Web app sitting inside a Web view. It seems like the logical next step is to drop the silo and make the Web app a first-class OS citizen. There is, and there will always be demand for native applications, but for many cases, a Web page is more than enough.
This is what the PWA idea is stepping on. Pure Web applications living inside a mobile/desktop OS and interacting with it as much as possibly allowed. This sort of interaction is what makes PWAs stand out. It reduces the time to first action, and the cognitive load on the user by:
- Not having the user open a browser, or remember and type a URL every time. The app simply lives as a first-class OS citizen. It has its own dedicated icon, is recognised by the OS app launcher, and possibly, offers ways to obtain and share information with other apps on the same OS.
- Obtain information about the network status and gracefully handle situations like connection lag, or lack thereof. Providing a Service Worker, helps the PWA show its full potential, by letting it do complex processing and synchronisation in the background, access local storage, or communicate with different kinds of low-level hardware periphery.
Check out this insightful podcast episode to get more information. If you have a Web app, which you think will make a great first-class mobile/desktop citizen, go to PWA Builder to see what the next steps are.
Last but not least, have a look at a great collection of PWA examples, to get started.