Here are just two numbers: 49% of mobile device users do not download a single application from Google Play or App Store within a month; during the same month, these same users visit at least one hundred sites. Question: Which of the two types of apps — native or Progressive Web App (PWA) — is more likely to appear on their phone or tablet?

Oh yes, so as not to forget! 17% of e-commerce companies worldwide invested in PWAs in 2021.

The fact that such an interest in PWA is experienced by businesses engaged in this particular area is not surprising. After all, Progressive Web Apps are ideal standalone solutions for eCommerce.

What is the uniqueness of PWA, and what advantages does a business gain from using such approaches?

First, let’s define the terms

Before delving into the specifics of the architecture of Progressive Web Apps, it is worth formulating what it is and how PWA differs from native programs and single-page web applications (SPA).

Without going into subtle definitions, we note that PWA is a React web application, a website that, using React.js — a JavaScript library, and some other technologies based on the JavaScript language, can work as an application.

The classical definition says that any application consists of two main parts — front-end and back-end. In contrast, a website is a collection of HTML pages based on a single domain. However, the classics can turn into a retro — React developers from QArea can tell you a lot about this. The fact is that today, thanks to JavaScript, there are practically no static web pages left, and dynamic ones have long been actively (or, to be more precise, interactively) already interacting with the user.

A broader point of view on this issue suggests a slightly different approach: a website is created to provide content, and an application is designed to execute user commands. But here again, app developers will reasonably object: what category should we include, for example, a railway website, where, on the one hand, there is content with information about train timetables, and on the other hand, online help and a form for searching and buying tickets?

Thus, the main difference between a modern website and a native (or, more broadly) any other program is that the latter must be installed, and for quick access to the site, it is enough just to create a shortcut.

At first glance, SPA can be confused with PWA since both types of web solutions use a web browser and interact with the user. A classic example of SPA can be called, in particular, Google Maps. In such an application, the central part of the page, with which the user is working, changes, and, so to speak, the frame remains static. The main disadvantage of this solution is the complicated and not always correct work with SEO algorithms and tight binding to JavaScript elements. If the user has these elements disabled in the browser, the single-page application won’t work.

In turn, PWA, while retaining all the advantages of SPA, such as speed of work, economical consumption of resources, etc., is devoid of its drawbacks. React.js programmers know how to make an application that is ideal for use on any platform and meets the most stringent requirements that users place on any software or design solution today.

Until recently, the main advantage of native applications over web-based programming solutions was working offline, while web applications require the Internet. However, with the advent of Service Worker, this line has also practically disappeared. This JavaScript file provides autonomy for web applications. Due to its architecture, it does not have a hard binding to the DOM and web pages and therefore can work even when there is no Internet connection.

Now let’s put it on the shelves

From the above description, you can see what a decisive breakthrough was, both the appearance of PWA in 2015 and the rapid development of this technology in recent years. Let’s look at the key benefits of Progressive Web Apps from an expert practitioner’s perspective.

  • Minimum volume and economical use of device resources.
  • No need to install and update. At the same time, the usual mechanism for placing PWA on the device is also available.
  • The highest speed of work. 53% of users say they will leave the site if it takes longer than three seconds to load. The service worker used in PWA solves the problem of autonomy and provides almost instant loading.
  • PWA is originally a cross-platform solution. Thus, they combine the best practices of all platforms while being able to avoid their disadvantages.
  • Fast development and easy updates. To make the necessary adjustments, it is enough to correct part of the code on the site. At the same time, the user gets the newest version of the PWA just by connecting.
  • Economic feasibility. The development and subsequent maintenance of PWAs reduce costs by 10 to 250 percent.
  • The convenience of hiring React outsourcing. Due to the above reasons, such a solution turns out to be economically reasonable, saving the customer’s time, money, and resources.

What’s the bottom line?

World statistics indicate the ever-increasing user requirements for the products they use and the steady trend towards the transition to mobile devices and applications for them. In these conditions, progressive web apps are one of the most advanced solutions. Moreover, the involvement of recognized experts invariably guarantees a fast and economically affordable result.

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