All you need to know about Progressive Web Apps

Progressive Web Apps
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Progressive Web App or PWAs are basically web applications which function as regular websites or web pages but appear to the users like native mobile applications or traditional applications. The application type focuses on combining features that are offered by majority of the modern browsers while at the same time presenting benefits that are typically associated with mobile experience. The apps that are usually available from our native app store can perform a range of functions for us, such as working offline, sending push notifications, loading on the home screen as well as looking and feeling like an app. On the other hand, mobile web apps that are typically accessed in mobile browsers have not been able to carry out such functions. Progressive Web Apps aims to fix all that with new design concepts and new Web APIs.

Progressive Web Apps

In short, Progressive Web Apps can be described as browser based mobile web apps. The hybrid apps run flawlessly in a native app environment and can display all the features that are expected from a standard native app. However, when the web content is pulled out from the hybrid app and loaded in a standard mobile browser, the app gets constrained and limited by the general features of that browser. This happens due to a number of reasons related to API standardization and browser security. Progressive Web Apps introduce features that we usually expect from the native apps into mobile browser experience with the help of standards-based technologies and then run them in a secure environment that is accessible to anyone using the web.

progressive web apps

Technologies and Web APIs

Therefore it can be said that Progressive Web Apps work as a collection of design concepts, technologies and Web APIs which work in tandem for presenting with an app-like experience to a mobile web user. In order to achieve this goal, it makes use of a number of associated technologies such as service workers. The service workers present users with powerful offline functionality, background content updating, push notifications, content caching as well as a wide range of other functions. On a higher level, the Service Worker functions as a worker script which effectively works in the backdrop behind the scenes, completely independent of the app, and operates in response to various events such as network requests, connectivity changes, push notifications and others.

Many developers have started to describe service workers as proxy which is exactly what they are. The script of the service workers works as proxy and helps in managing events with complete control and deal with the cached data. The flexibility and immense power of the Service Workers actually makes them rather complicated, which is why developers usually want create and make use of pre-made formats for the most commonly used service workers that can be used for functions such as using them in offline mode. In short, the service workers are important JavaScript files that help in the functioning of the Progressive Web Apps. The developers are required to write codes for them that can help in performing tasks such as handling push notifications, caching and content fetching.

 

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