Insights

The brave new world of Progressive Web Apps

These last few weeks, the words ‘Progressive Web Apps’ (PWAs) have left the lips of our developers many times, so I decided to take some time to look into the brave new world of PWAs properly, to get a real feel for the potential this approach to web development could unlock for our clients.

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Paul McGillivray

As part of the management team here at Remote, I spend my working day surrounded by a dynamic team of developers. They’re always looking at new technologies and ways of working that will deliver better work for our clients.

These last few weeks, the words ‘Progressive Web Apps’ (PWAs) have left their lips many times, so I decided to take some time to look into the brave new world of PWAs properly, so that I could get a real feel for the potential this approach to web development could unlock for our clients.

So, I started at the beginning… What are Progressive Web Apps?

It turns out that Progressive Web Apps are essentially websites that utilise a collection of technologies, design concepts, and Web APIs in tandem to provide an app-like experience on the web. This is really neat, because it combines the reach of the web with the speed, user experience and functionality that apps have to offer.

PWAs are visited in a web browser the very first time the user visits the site, just like a regular website, so there’s no requirement to visit an app store and no download and install. And, as the user engages progressively with the PWA over time, they provide enhanced functionality like being accessed via an icon on the home screen of a device, just like an app. 

PWAs load quickly, delivering enhanced performance. They also boast an app-like user experience; loading as a full-screen experience with smooth, app-like transitions, even on a slow internet connection. Combined, this is proven to drive up user engagement and conversion rates.

They have other native app functions as well, such as the ability to send push notifications to the user’s device and the ability to work offline.

PWAs are the next step in web development. In the coming months, we will be releasing our first few Progressive Web App developments. I’m excited by this prospect. It will bring parity to the user experience of the web and native apps that we develop, enabling our clients looking for a web solution to harness the functionality they might expect of an app and reach more users beyond the confines of the app store.

By applying all that Progressive Web Apps have to offer, and taking inspiration from native apps, we can build truly amazing experiences on the web. And if this tells me anything, it’s that 2018 is likely to bring some very exciting developments in web applications at Remote.

Jeannie McGillivray

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