The next wave of mobile web has arrived.
Progressive Web Apps are “it” for small business
A fundamental tool requirement for business with the Millennial !
By combining the best of native APP’s and websites, they provide an enhanced experience for users, and an easily marketable platform for small business.
But what is the PWA technology behind them that makes them so great?
Today, we will see the tech fundamentals behind progressive web APP’s, and why they are becoming the new standard for user experience.
The fundamentals of the Progressive Web APP
What are Progressive Web App’s?
A progressive web application is a type of APP software that is delivered through the web to work on any standard-compliant browser.
PWA’s are typically built using common technologies such as CSS, HTML and Java script.
Interestingly they do not require separate distribution through an APP store like older native mobile APP’s.
They can be opened from any browser meaning that they are independent from APP stores.
They distribute directly with a simple link or a QR code.
For users, this means that they can access them at any time, anywhere, and without having to install them on their phones.
They can even use the PWA in offline mode!
What are the main characteristics of PWAs?
The next step of getting a good understanding of the PWA technology is to take a look at the main characteristics of progressive web APP’s.
One important thing that we need to know is that PWA’s aim to provide a cross-platform solution, helping developers build APP’s rapidly.
For example, native mobile APP’s require a separate development for each particular APP store and operating system.
For developers, this means having to create one APP for the Apple Store, and another one for the Google Play Store.
Some of the main characteristics of PWA
They are progressive. What does that mean?
This simply means that they work for every user on any browser, using progressive enhancement principles.
The emphasis is on core webpage content first.
This allows everyone to access the basic content and functionality of a web page before they see the enhanced version.
Once the browser or connection allows it, this strategy will then progressively add more nuanced and technically rigorous features and layers on top of the basic content.
In other words, progressive web apps improve constantly based on the available resources for a particular user.
Another fundamental characteristic of PWA technology is responsiveness.
Progressive Web Apps are extremely responsive, which means that the APP layout will adapt itself to fit any form factor such as mobile, desktop, tablet, and any other form that is yet to emerge.
It will also adapt to any screen size, which can be very different depending on the brand and model of the electronic device.
The particular level and behaviour of responsiveness will depend on how the APP is built.
For example, one way is through block architecture, in which blocks are arranged and multiplied according to the screen.
One of the biggest benefits of progressive web apps is their ability to function in offline mode and unstable connections.
This is possible thanks to an API called Service worker which caches important assets and files so that users can access them even if their connection is unreliable.
The caching ability of progressive web APP allows instant loading loaded updating the content each time the connection comes back.
PWA technology uses HTTPS protocols so that the information cannot be exposed or alerted.
In HTTPS, the communication protocol is encrypted using TLS (Transport Layer Security) .
This protocol enhances security through website authentification, and protection of the exchanged data while in transit.
Progressive web APP’s also offer a variety of engagement features , consistently make customers turn their back on mobile websites in favour of PWAs.
They are faster to load, easier to access, and in many cases, more comfortable to browse.
The most important engagement features of progressive web APP’s are push notifications.
A powerful tool to engage by sending limitless notifications and messages in a very personalised way.
The PWA actually enables its Smartphone users to be an advocate on social media.
This is a marketing revolution using natural distribution channels created by the referral and genuine advocacy.
Push notifications, or server push, have numerous benefits for improving user engagement as they allow companies to deliver relevant information without being spammy or intrusive.
They improve conversion rates and be tracked with an Analytics tool for further performance enhancement
Analytics you can measure important metrics not only of your push notifications but throughout your whole entire PWA
The fundamentals of the Progressive Web APP
3. What are the building blocks behind PWA’s?
PWA technology relies mainly on common and proven programming languages such as HTML, CSS, and Java script.
There are three minimum building blocks that are a must for PWAs.
A Service worker and the Web App Manifest.
Two powerful APIs that enable offline browsing and push notifications.
They require a secure HTTPs protocol to make sure that all the important information is protected.
Let’s take a deeper look at them:
To put it simply, service workers are the base of PWA.
The service worker implements a programmable network proxy that is capable of responding to the web and HTTP requests of the main document.
Like any other web worker (a Java script script that runs in the background of the APP, independently from other scripts on the main page).
They check the availability of a remote server, and cache the content as soon as the server is available again.
These capabilities allow service workers to:
- Handle push notifications
- Synchronised background
- Cache or retrieve resource requests
- Receive centralised updates
- And intercept network requests
And they are doing all that independently from the unique document that’s registered them.
Even when it is not loaded !
This PWA technology maintains high performance and rich and engaging user experience.
Ultra high speed loading times.
No download from the APP store required.
Miniscule storage space on a smart device doing away with the do and APP delete culture.
The web app Manifest is a simple JSON file that allows the users of your progressive web APP to save the application on their home screen.
PWAs do not have to be downloaded in a traditional way like native mobile APP’s.
They can be saved as an icon on the screen of your device – and most of the times, they will not exceed even 1 MB of space, thats tiny!
In fact, the majority of PWAs are 90% smaller and lighter than a native APP
And a significantly faster loading speed.
Developers use the web app Manifest as a centralised place for all metadata that is associated with the application, for example:
- The name of the web APP
- Links to icons and image objects
- The screen orientation of the app that will come by default
- The preferred URL for the launch of the app
- All the required data for web app configuration
- And even the option to set the display mode, such as full screen.
This metadata is required if your want users to be able to add your APP to your clients home screen, as it will define its appearance and behaviour on it.
Any web APP must be delivered through a secure protocol in order to be considered a PWA.
In other words, obtaining an SSL certificate is a prerequisite when it comes to PWA development and completely standard in a Maltix built APP.
The fundamentals of the Progressive Web APP
Put simply, the HTTPS protocol ensures the security and privacy of your information by encrypting it as it moves between your browser and the server of your website.
In other words, anyone that could be listening to your conversation will not be able to read anything.
This could be your Internet Service Provider, a hacking, your government, and practically anyone who manages to position themselves between the web server and you.
The HTTPS protocol provides data encryption, data integrity, and authentication.
Ensuring that your message cannot be changed or altered, and that you are communicating with the intended person (server).
Do you want to have your own Progressive Web App and take complete control?
Now that we know the fundamentals of PWA technology and the main characteristics of progressive web APP’s, it becomes clear why PWAs are going to “take over the world” of mobile webs, particularly with small business.
- Push notifications – engage with your users at the right time in the right place by sending them customised messages, promotions and vouchers etc with rich media content.
- With our sophisticated Push Notification scheduler, you can even plan out and schedule automated push notifications ahead of time.
- Live real time updates – publish your changes and see them immediately on your PWA without any delay.
- Compared to native mobile APP’s, you would have to wait for an APP store to revise and approve your modifications,.
- This happens instantly with Maltix hosting. with no customer updates required!
- Member login – choose who can access your APP and which specific pages they can see.
- With this additional layer of security, users can register using their email address, and keep their information safe and private.
- eCommerce integration – PWA for your ecommerce store.
- Our integrations with Woo commerce and Shopify, combine with the PWA’s capability of working in offline mode, keep your customers shopping all the time, on any device.
- Live chat – use this engagement tool to allow your APP users to chat with each other and discuss your latest products, tools and insights, or just exchange relevant information.
- Analytics – analysing the performance of your APP is key for improvements.
- Make sure that your customers are delighted at every step of their customer journey.
- Use your Analytics tool to see who is viewing and downloading your APP, and which pages they are visiting.
- Appointment scheduling –Any business that requires scheduling appointments with customers included on your PWA
- Responsiveness & browser compatibility – enjoy an APP that automatically adapts to your users’ devices and screen sizes.
Thank you for reading today’s article on The fundamentals of the Progressive Web APP.