Ultimate guide for Progressive web Apps (PWA)

The need for mobile-friendly web experiences increased in 2015, which led to the development of progressive web apps (PWAs). Frances Berriman and Alex Russell launched the idea by defining the PWAs’ guiding principles in a blog post.

Progressive web apps (PWAs) are web applications that use modern web technologies to provide an app-like experience to users. PWAs are designed to be fast, reliable, and engaging, and they can work seamlessly on any device with a modern web browser, including smartphones, tablets, and desktops. According to a study by Smashing Magazine, PWAs can increase conversion rates by up to 36%. Which makes it an attractive proposition to many businesses.

The mobile web application for Twitter, which went live in 2017, was one of the first instances of a PWA. Push notifications and offline capabilities are among the benefits of Twitter PWA’s quick and light design. Users reported better performance and a more app-like experience compared to the native Twitter client, therefore it was a success. PWAs have received a lot of support from Google, which has included them into the Chrome browser.

PWAs are now widely used in a variety of sectors, including e-commerce, tourism, journalism, and social networking. They are viewed as a crucial component of the future of mobile web development because they are constantly evolving with new features and functionalities being added.

Key features of PWA:

  • PWAs can work offline, allowing users to access app content even when they have no internet connection.
  • PWAs provide an app-like experience, with features like push notifications, home screen installation, and full-screen mode.
  • PWAs are designed to load quickly, even on slow networks, it is observed that PWAs can be up to 4 times faster than traditional mobile websites. This is achieved through techniques like lazy loading, which prioritizes the loading of critical app content, and prefetching, which loads content in the background.
  • PWAs work on any device with a modern web browser, regardless of the operating system or device type.
  • PWAs are built on web technologies, they can be maintained and updated easily,
  • PWAs are served over HTTPS, ensuring that all data exchanged between the app and the server is encrypted and secure.
  • PWAs are indexed by search engines

Checklist for testing Progressive webApps

  1. Browser compatibility: PWAs should work on any modern web browser, so it’s important to test on a variety of browsers and browser versions to ensure compatibility.
  2. Viewports: PWAs are driven by responsive design, Cross-device tests are mandatory to verify the DOM rendering,
  3. Apps Functionality: Business functions of the application should be tested thoroughly
  4. Offline functionality: PWAs are designed to work offline, so it’s important to test the app in offline mode to ensure that all features and functionality work as expected.
    • (a) Service workers: web technology, to cache app content and data on the user’s device. This allows the app to load and function even when the user is offline.
    • (b) App shell: the app’s basic UI and navigation elements are cached and can be loaded quickly, even when the user is offline.
    • (c) Local storage:local storage to store user data and preferences on the user’s device
    • (d) indexedDB : a client-side storage API, to store large amounts of structured data on the user’s device.
  5. Performance: PWAs should load quickly and provide a seamless user experience, so it’s important to test the app’s performance on a variety of devices and network speeds.
  6. Push notifications: Push notifications are a key feature of PWAs, so it’s important to test their delivery and display on a variety of devices and browsers. Few scenarios to take into account are
    • (a) Browser support: Make sure the browser and device you’re testing on support push notifications
    • (b) disable push notifications
    • (c) Adjust notification preferences.
    • (d) Notification behavior verification e.g. opening a new tab or notification overlay
    • (e) Performance : how long it takes for the notifications to display
  7. URL structure : Every page loaded should have a healthy URL structure, as PWAs do impact SEO businesses have to ensure the URL structure follows the best practices under SEO guidelines
  8. Network Testing: In the modern world users smart phones are on various networks 3G,4G, 5G. Irrespective of the type of network application should work as usual without any hiccups.
  9. Accessibility: PWAs should be accessible to users with disabilities, so it’s important to test the app’s accessibility features, including keyboard navigation and screen reader compatibility.
  10. Security: PWAs should be served over HTTPS and follow best practices for web security, so it’s important to test the app for security vulnerabilities and potential exploits.
  11. User experience: PWAs should provide a seamless app-like experience, so it’s important to test the app’s user experience on a variety of devices and browsers to ensure that all features and functionality work as expected.

Sample PWAs

  1. Twitter Lite: https://mobile.twitter.com/home
  2. Starbucks: https://www.starbucks.com/
  3. Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/
  4. Flipboard: https://flipboard.com/

Downsides of PWA

  1. PWAs may not be able to access certain hardware or software features of a device or offer the same level of performance as a native app.
  2. Unlike native apps, PWAs cannot be listed in app stores
  3. Limited personalisation for users
  4. PWAs may be restrictive when it comes to Accessibility
  5. App monetization is restricted



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