Home Understanding the Pros and Cons of Progressive Web Apps

Understanding the Pros and Cons of Progressive Web Apps

by Samantha Kalany

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

The software industry has witnessed progressive web apps (PWAs) gaining popularity since 2015, and you don’t need to look far to find one. Just use Instagram on a mobile browser, request an Uber on m.uber instead of a native app, or use Pinterest’s PWA and notice faster loading times, which, incidentally, have led to a 40 percent increase in the time users spend on the app and a 44 percent increase in user-generated ad revenue.

However, progressive web apps aren’t only benefitting B2C companies and their users. Businesses are also recognizing the benefits of PWAs for their internal processes, making it wise for ISVS to consider progressive web app development.

What is a Progressive Web App and Why Develop One for a Business Process?

Progressive web apps bring together the best of two worlds: website development and native apps. PWAs are built with web technologies, such as HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, but they provide experiences much like using a native mobile app on Android or iOS.

PWAs offer businesses several advantages over developing native mobile apps for mobile or remote workers, including:

  • Costs: Progressive web applications are less expensive to develop and maintain. If you’re creating a native app for iOS or Android, you need to know or hire resources that know specific programming languages, and you’lHi thl need to maintain each version. PWAs, on the other hand, can be enabled from a single codebase for any mobile device. Furthermore, you can develop progressive web apps more quickly by leveraging web plugins to keep costs low.
  • Security: Native apps require added security measures, like multi-factor authentication (MFA), to ensure only authorized users can log onto business apps. PWAs can use HTTPS to enable secure data exchange.
  • Device choice: Progressive web applications can be deployed on different devices and can respond to display optimally on different-sized screens. This feature of PWAs allows an operation to use the app on various devices rather than upgrade all devices for optimal performance of a new app.
  • Installation and updates: Native apps are typically downloaded from an app store, and the user has to consider and grant or deny permissions. With a PWA, all they need to do is bookmark the app in their web browser and add the app to their home screen if they choose. In addition, PWAs require less bandwidth because they use caching more effectively than native mobile apps, and updates are automatic, requiring no intervention – and attention – from users.
  • Offline capabilities: Users can work offline with the app on their home screens. PWAs are often designed as “offline first” or “cache first,” delivering content to the user from the cache before contacting the server. Using service workers, you can create good offline experiences and sync data when connectivity is restored.

Is There a Downside to PWAs?

Progressive web applications can enable warehouse employees to work offline in facilities where connectivity is intermittent, allow remote employees to use a range of devices rather than require them to all upgrade, and meet numerous other needs. They also give businesses a path to creating apps to optimize business processes sooner and more cost-effectively.

However, businesses can encounter some challenges with them. Because PWAs are relatively new, legacy devices may not support them well. Also, Apple doesn’t allow progressive web apps to access some features such as Face ID, Bluetooth, or Beacons.

Additionally, apps written in JavaScript often require more battery power than in native languages, which may create the need for frequent charging during a shift.

Is There an Upside for Your Business?

If your software company develops apps for business clients, providing progressive web applications may help you meet their needs more quickly and offer new features that make apps more user-friendly.

You may also find developers with skillsets that enable PWA development more easily than those with expertise in developing apps specifically for iOS or Android. Additionally, the time it takes to create an app will decrease, enabling your team to take on more projects, deliver them more quickly, maintain them more efficiently, and add to your list of satisfied customers. Developing a progressive web app may even put your business on the path to Big Tech success.

It’s time to consider using your web and app development knowledge to capitalize on the PWA trend. So, what will you take to market next?