Top 5 things to know about Progressive Web Apps

Progressive Web Apps are more and more popular. Tom Merritt lists five things you should know about PWAs.

Progressive Web Applications (PWAs) are starting to gain attention. For example, Amazon uses it for the game streaming service on iOS. PWAs give you the benefits of an app with the freedom to publish to the web, but they’re not for everyone or for everything. Here are five things to know about Progressive Web Apps.

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  1. They are more of an idea than a thing. The term was introduced by Alex Russell of Google in 2015 to apply to application-type web technologies. There is no single standard for a PWA, but there are some things they need.
  2. PWAs need a manifesto. This is a JSON file that defines things about appearance, such as app name, home screen icon, background colors, and screen display. ‘browser user interface or full screen mode.
  3. PWAs must work offline. This is typically achieved by locally recording JavaScript and CSS for faster load times, although some PWAs record almost everything the app does.
  4. They need something called service workers. Service technicians create a layer between the application and the network. They cache new content, synchronize local changes with a remote server, and enable notifications and fast loading.
  5. PWAs need security. It might sound obvious, but it’s worth stressing: you shouldn’t ignore security. PWAs should use HTTPS when sending data.

There are other things you may or may not use for your PWA like WebAssembly, Houdini, or WebRTC, but it gives you the basics. There are more and more progressive web apps (like the ones mentioned earlier Amazon Luna), corn Twitter, Flipkart, and Pinterest also have PWA versions. Be progressive: try a web app.

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Image: iStock / RossHelen

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