Definition ” PWA ” What is a Progressive Web App?
A Progressive Web app, or PWA for short, is a special form of application for mobile devices. It combines the strengths of native applications and classic websites. This creates many advantages. However, the term could soon become obsolete.
Company about the topic
Thanks to hardware access, among other things, the function of a PWA goes beyond the possibilities of a website.
A Progressive Web App (PWA) is a mobile website that has the functions of native applications. The concept was developed by Google. It has been widely implemented since 2016.
Mobile website, Web app or PWA?
Mobile websites were originally only customized versions of the desktop variants. (Meanwhile, this relationship has turned.) This means that they are primarily intended to convey content. A user’s ability to interact with the site is severely limited.
Over time, however, the technical possibilities arose to expand the range of functions for users. The social networks are a good example of this. Browser games also show how much the possibilities of user interactions have grown.
In the mobile sector, however, such functions were (and are) outsourced. There are downloadable (“native”) apps for this. For example, Facebook or Twitter offer their own apps. Theoretically, the basic functions can also be used via the mobile websites. If the look of the app is also imitated and the page has responsive design, it is a web app. Responsive design means that the application can automatically adapt to the size ratios of the respective device.
Theoretically, however, much more would be possible. For this, the limits to the rest of the mobile device must be drilled. For example, it is possible to integrate the camera or use the microphone. If applications strive to use all the possibilities of the target device, they are progressive Web apps.
Service Worker as the silent heroes in PWAs
A Progressive Web app builds on small scripts called “Service Workers”. They are usually invisible to end users. They ensure that the application works as desired, for example by shortening loading times or providing certain functional sequences. You can also reach beyond the limits of the browser to expand the range of applications of the PWA.
Advantages of a Progressive Web App
- no problems with changing the platform
- optimal use of the resources of the respective device
Disadvantages of a PWA
- not necessarily the identical range of functions, depending on the device
- not every Browser supports every PWA
- Offline functionalities severely restricted or not available at all
- potential security risk should the PWA be compromised