You might be wondering what is so cool about PWA and what it actually is. We can say that PWA is set of different technologies those when combined together, empower your website and improve user experience. I strongly recommend to read some articles about Progressive Web Apps and how big companies use them to engage their customers and bring more revenues. In order to keep this article short and clean, I will be talking just about benefits, not too much about technical details.
PWA concept is based on 2 files:
You may be wondering what was technology of previous decade? It is definitely native apps. Everyone was looking to have at least android and iOS app for its website, because it looked to be cool, was showing success of website (if you can invest such amount to app development) and provided better user experience comparing to website browsing.
Especially when responsive design started to be standard, many websites did not provided user friendly design on mobile devices and app was only way to go.
PWA is more-less response for following problems you might encounter when having native apps (or looking for them):
All these are key points for PWA to be invented.
As you might notice, PWA wants to provide better experience and partially replace need of native apps.
PWA ready website can use latest browser technologies and use navigator preload (faster site loading) as well as caching. When you have cache strategy in service worker enabled, content of resources will be stored into browser cache and is used to enhance offline user experience
When service workers are set to store cache, it can be reused when user is offline, so basically it allows user to browse all pages accessed without need to be online. PWA also allows to set custom offline page so when you access particular URL that is not in cache and connection is not active (it can be also that server is down, not just network issue), custom offline page is shown instead of browser error page.
Offline page is by default cached so it is available.
Considering above mentioned, via PWA you are getting native apps experience directly in browser (of course browser must support PWA technology). Without need to install anything, you can access website when you are offline, use cached data (incl. css, js, images), enhance content loading using navigator preload.
Website that meets different criteria (manifest, service worker, https, ...) is eligible to have "Add to home" installation button that is generated by browser. This installs Web Application as a great replacement for native application that is light-weight app that does everything that your website does and has just few kilo/mega bytes.
Using pwabuilder.com you can generate files for native application that can be used to upload your app into Google Play Store, iOS Apps Store or Microsoft store. If you are looking for native apps, PWA helps you to generate them for free!
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Hope this article helps you to create picture why PWA is important nowadays and how it can help you your business.