Learn why app developers are having so much fun with progressive web apps.

The idea of progressive web apps (PWAs) have been around since the first iPhone. In the media event when he unveiled the iPhone, Steve Jobs added his now-famous “one more thing” – that developers would have the ability to create web apps that would have bookmarks (or web clips) that lives on the iPhone’s home screen.

This pronouncement excited developers worldwide.

Since that fateful day, Apple has offered very little by way of PWA support due to the overwhelming success of the cash cow we now know as the “App Store.”

In point of fact, it was the Google Chrome Team that came up with the nom de plume and it wasn’t until around 2017 that the PWA as we know it today was defined by Jeremy Keith. And that leads us to the question…

What is a progressive web app?

The answer to that question with the most traction on the internet is that PWA is any site that has these three components:

1. It is delivered over HTTPS.
2. It includes a manifest.json file.
3. It has a service worker.

Without being excruciatingly technical, the above components allow for security, a way for the browser to identify and interact with the app, and the ability to have offline caching. Offline caching is a big deal because it means that any pages visited previously will be available without internet connectivity.

These criteria tick the boxes for Google’s definition of a PWA, which uses the descriptors fast, reliable installable and platform agnostic to differentiate PWAs from others web apps. Add to that the “Velasophy” of creating a unique, mobile first user experience and you have the ingredients of a solid Progressive Web App. The big question is …

Does your company need a progressive web app?

In the current user paradigm, it is no longer a luxury to have a PWA. It is a necessity. Last year’s “mobile compatible site” alone cannot deliver a user experience at as high of a level, and it will not appease your users.

As internet interactions are now a driving economic force, it is easy to equate a user’s experience with your online persona with your company’s integrity and professionalism. With roughly half of the internet usage world-wide now being contributed to mobile devices, the answer to “Does your company need a progressive web app?” should be a resounding, “YES!”

Here’s an example. We recently built a PWA for the Winston-Salem Cycling Classic and Gears & Guitars music festival, two associated events held over Memorial Day weekend. In years past, people had to go to an app store to get the latest version of an events app, which provided important information on race routes, concert lineups and race schedules.

With PWA, any updates to the events app occur in real-time and without the restrictions or excess of the app stores. Participants and attendees get the information they need by bookmarking the app or adding it to their phone’s home screen. One and done.

It’s much simpler and faster, especially for people who are coming in from out-of-town.

It’s More Than Just Code

Adding just the PWA components to your site isn’t enough. Having a team that understands your customer base, can submerge themselves in your industry, can concept and design a modern User Interface, map out the User Experience, and translate the metrics that are harvested is as important as the technology itself.

Want to learn more about PWAs? Contact Vela today. We have the team and experience to build a powerful one for you.