The mobile app industry is one in constant change and evolution. Ever since smartphones have been introduced to the populace, mobile apps have been steadily climbing up the ladder and becoming more and more important in everyday tasks. Since these small pieces of software are at the very core of mobile devices these days, any major change in the way they operate will have quite a massive impact on the industry as a whole.
That type of change is coming right now in the form of Progressive Web Apps. Before we get into that, let’s take a look at what Progressive Web Apps are looking to fix or change. When it comes to mobile apps, there is a fundamental set of applications that every user downloads. So far so good, however after downloading that handful of apps, it has been recorded that a huge majority of smartphone users stop installing other apps altogether.
It is not very clear whether it is a matter of inconvenience or just lack of apps to spark customer interest. However, the latter might be a bit far-fetched considering that there are over 2 million apps currently available. Either way, mobile app developers are in for a treat with the new Progressive Web Apps which are aimed at that really high number of users that don’t install apps, but not only.
So what are these Progressive Web Apps?
Progressive Web Apps or PWA are not entirely applications. They’re a mix of what you might look for in a regular app, but combined with the capabilities and benefits of a website. PWA are to emulate the best characteristics from each side, and come up with a new form of delivering mobile information.
Although they use website characteristics, they have access and can use hardware elements from the phone such as the camera or microphone. They also use top notch technology and services like Service Workers, making them very proficient.
They will also be more secure, allegedly. This is due to the fact that they require connecting through TLS, meaning that your standard header data interception HTTP attacks will be nullified and thus a safer environment will be created, not only for users but also for the developer.
Unlike a regular website, Progressive Web Apps will be able to display data in an offline mode. The website/app will be able to display what was available while an internet connection was established. This means that you won’t rely as heavily on an internet connection to use that specific PWA on the road or during bad weather.
Home screen convenience
In contrast to having a website you would like to visit again bookmarked, it is very safe to say that having a shortcut of it on your home screen is way more efficient. When it comes to users returning to a web platform, it is much more convenient if it’s just a tap away. Having a home screen shortcuts is something that Progressive Web Apps will allow, since it’s not a traditional website.
Could you imagine push notifications coming from a website, as things are now? It might be a web developer’s dream to see it happen. Soon enough, it might be more than a dream. Progressive Web Apps offer developer the ability of integrating many app-like functions, including push notifications. This will most likely replace the current way of things, represented by newsletters most people subscribe to by mistake and then just ignore.
No more app stores
From a developer perspective, Progressive Web Apps could be an amazing thing because it completely eliminates the need for an app store. App store generally plays a big role in mobile application development and release, because they require an app to “pass” and meet all the qualifications before being granted entry. While this might cause a significant drop in quality due to not having a regulating force which acts as a quality tester, it also makes it way easier for developers that can launch their Progressive Web Apps instantly.
Indexed data that can generate links and website-like ranking
Everyone that manages or administrates a website knows the benefits of having it indexed and having Google spread the word about it through keywords and links from and towards your domain. Traditional mobile apps are unable to receive such massive support due to having all content localized. With the introduction of Progressive Web Apps, that could change and apps could too claim such benefits.
It seems like the Progressive Web App technology that is currently making waves also promises to have a massive impact on the mobile app industry. Not only that, but traditional websites will also have to adjust to this new player on the market, and maybe see themselves restricted solely for PCs.