Today, progressive web apps are gaining traction, and more and more companies have decided to use them in their digital projects. However, since it’s quite a new technology, there are many misleading opinions and misconceptions about what PWAs are and aren’t. In today’s blog post, we decided to deal with two facts, two myths, and one half-truth about PWAs. We hope our short analysis will help you understand what this technology is actually about.
Let’s start with a short definition. Progressive web applications are entirely web-based. This means that they look and behave similarly to ordinary websites. Therefore, PWAs can be viewed and used on any device that has access to the internet and uses an internet browser.
Today, PWAs are more and more popular, and the reason is apparent. Companies get access to a relatively easy and cheap technology, allowing them to make the most of a new sales/marketing channel – mobile apps. And you need just one codebase to reach users of various mobile devices, whether you think of Windows, Android, or iOS. All in all, an excellent solution for a company that doesn’t want to develop two separate native apps. With this introduction done, let’s see what you should know about PWAs.
Fact: No installation required
That’s 100% correct. PWAs are web-based, so all you need is an internet browser to use them. You don’t have to go to an app store, download anything, or install it on your device. You just open your browser, go to the PWA’s website and sign in using your login/account number and a password. However, if you’d like to have a shortcut to a PWA on your mobile device, you are free to do so. When you click this shortcut, it will take you directly to a PWA’s website.
Fact: Fewer functionalities
That’s also true. Unfortunately, PWAs are not perfect. Although this technology is quite flexible (they work on any device), it has some limitations. For instance, PWAs don’t have access to many features of your device, e.g., contact list, Bluetooth, camera, or NFC. This means that companies working on PWAs should take these limitations into account and make sure that their digital products will be functional without them.
Half-truth: PWAs are just like websites
Only from a user’s perspective. That’s true; less tech-savvy users won’t see any differences between PWAs and ordinary websites. But the fact that these two look and behave similarly doesn’t mean they are alike. In fact, the process of creating a PWA is far more complicated, requires more technologies and expertise, and takes more time. Compared to PWAs, websites are relatively easy to create and publish online.
Myth: PWAs are expensive to make
They surely are more expensive to make than a typical website, but they are significantly cheaper compared to standard native apps (developed exclusively for a specific operating system). That’s primarily because there is just one codebase, so if you want to target both Android and iOS users, you don’t have to develop two apps, just one. This also means that developing a PWA usually takes less time compared to native apps.
Myth: PWAs don’t work on iOS
They do. However, there is a grain of truth in this statement. You see, iOS imposes some additional limitations on PWAs compared to Android. Devices with the Apple operating system don’t run a specific script called a Service Worker when a PWA is open. As a result, the lack of this script is stopping this operating system from offering all the capabilities Android offers (e.g., push notifications). However, things slowly change. About a year ago, in early 2021, Apple announced iOS version 11.3, which supports PWAs (there are still some limitations, but Apple is going in the right direction).
Create your new PWA with us!
If you think that your business could use a PWA, you’re probably right! The biggest advantage of this technology is convenience. Many users are reluctant when it comes to downloading tens of apps on their smartphones. With PWAs, there’s no such problem! PWAs don’t take up much space in the user’s device, and they don’t slow it down.
We recommend ourselves if you’re looking for a trusted IT partner to develop a PWA for your company. Did you know that Global4Net is one of Poland’s first Magento software houses to start working with this technology? Thanks to our broad experience, we are capable of designing a digital product that ticks all your boxes.
We encourage you to take a look at our PWA section, where you can find out more about this technology and see some of our previous projects. The next step? Reach out and tell us something more about your vision.