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A Comprehensive Guide to Develop Progressive Web Apps from Scratch

Alekh Verma | June 23, 2023
a Guide to Develop Progressive Web Apps from Scratch

In recent years, the mobile app market has developed into a hub of fascinating developments. Experts have participated in several discussions where various viewpoints on how to provide a good user experience are expressed. With that stated, we were contemplating talking about the emerging trend of progressive web apps, which has gained popularity in recent years.

The superiority of PWAs (progressive web apps) over mobile applications is up for debate because so many of them exist today and support mobile apps and are heavily affected by mobile web usage.

There are 6.5 billion smartphone users globally, and today, apps are the only thing that manages our schedules for everything from medicine to movie tickets to airplane tickets. Thus, we must be aware of all of their aspects. We are going to learn about what progressive web applications can provide us.

PWAs can provide you with the secret to a seamless user experience. Users must delve into the history of PWA and have a thorough comprehension of this notion because the technology is still relatively new to the mobile sector. Let's start:

From a technological standpoint, PWAs provide access to open web technologies to enable cross-platform compatibility. PWAs give the audience an experience and functionality similar to apps that are tailored to their devices.

Progressive web apps are designed to give consumers access to any device (as long as they are using a browser), regardless of the platform.

Continue reading the next portions to get more fascinating information about PWA.

Companies Using Progressive Web Apps- Why

Now you must be thinking, what changes have PWAs made for this evolution?

The market for progressive web applications was worth USD 1.13 billion in 2019; it is anticipated to grow to USD 10.44 billion by 2027, at a CAGR of 31.9%. Therefore, it is abundantly obvious that the adoption of progressive web apps is growing.

Businesses' Observations after using PWA

Trivago reported a 97% increase in clicks to the hotel offerings using their PWA in addition to a 150% increase in user engagement.

PWA was used by Hulu to replace the platform-specific desktop experience. Their repeat customers have increased by more than 27%.

The progressive online application from BookMyShow is 180x lighter and 54x lower in size than the company's iOS and Android apps, respectively.

Overview of Users' Engagement

According to Ola, their PWA has a 30% higher conversion rate than natives in Tier 3 cities.

On Twitter Lite, the number of pages per session rose by 65% while the bounce rate decreased by 20%.

A PWA was created by the streaming network Zee5 to broaden its user base. The PWA is three times faster and cuts buffering time in half.

Rate of conversion and income

The PWA for BookMyShow loads in under 3 seconds and has conversion rates that are over 80% higher.

Conversions on Flipkart increased by 70% once PWA was introduced.

PWAs are useful for SEO as well due to the increase in user engagement and conversion rates. We must go into great depth about this! These statistics provide you with an overview of progressive web apps and how they are doing for these well-known names as well as many more endeavors included in the count. 

Let's dive into the realm of Progressive Web Apps.

How Progressive Web Apps are Different from Native Applications?

Native apps are standalone programs that are only compatible with smartphones. Websites that have the appearance and feel of an app are known as progressive web apps, and they give consumers a customized experience.

Evaluate thinking about a Microsoft program when we evaluate a native application. Google Docs should come to mind while thinking about PWA. It's not too difficult!

After discussing a few fascinating facts, it's critical to comprehend what distinguishes PWAs from more commonplace native apps. To do this, consider the following:

1. Responsiveness

Every device, including a smartphone, laptop, tablet, iPad, and all others, may access the browser, which is where progressive web apps are executed.

Therefore, when a progressive web app is designed, responsiveness is considered in advance to ensure that the user has a positive experience while trying to access your PWA from any device.

The design of the app is made to properly match the device, and the development team makes sure that there is no back and forth in the UI.

2. Flexibility

A progressive online application that lacks anything except adaptability is useless, so what's the point? The main benefit of progressive web applications is that they work on all platforms and don't just work on smartphones.

Because of their ability to run on all sorts of operating systems and browsers, progressive web apps are secret weapons for boosting user engagement.

The development team must ensure that the web app can function on every browser that consumers use, keeping flexibility and progressive aspects at the forefront of their concerns.

3. The factor of connectivity

It should go without saying that you cannot browse the website if your internet connection is unavailable. However, certain native programs enable users to utilize them despite sometimes poor connectivity.

However, while being run through a web browser, progressive web apps let users access the same content through an app without a connection.

This is made feasible by pre-caching the app's data. Service workers implements this approach. A programmatic technique to cache resources is provided by the service worker; we shall learn more about this in the next lessons.

Because not every user will have access to a reliable internet connection, it is important to consider this problem while creating a PWA. Progressive web apps ought to be usable even in areas with poor internet.

You should also be able to utilize your progressive web application offline so that consumers do not need to switch to another program.

4. Keep the application feels intact

Recall the fundamental principle driving the adoption of progressive web applications. PWA nowadays goes well beyond the common native apps. However, that does not imply that they resemble websites.

Well, the goal of progressive apps is to provide an app-like experience on the web. So, when you're creating a PWA, you mustn't allow the app-like feel to go.

It's similar to how interactive elements on a website should encourage user interaction. The user may then utilize this website as though it were a native app by adding it to their device's home screen.

How do PWAs Work? The Technical Perspective

The process behind progressive web apps operating differently from native applications and websites are pretty interesting. Let’s learn about the same:

1. Single-page website

Instead of downloading a new page from the server each time a request is made, a single-page application dynamically executes a new page to interact with the user.

Simply explained, when a user wants the same, the browser does not issue a request to load the full new page. JavaScript substitutes the new page with the old one in a single-page application, making it appear as though the user has changed pages after clicking the link.

Similar to single-page applications, this feature ensures that information loads quickly, which is crucial for creating an app-like experience. It is a need for progressive web apps.

2. Service workers

Progressive web apps provide faster page loads, improved application experiences, enhanced mobile conversion, offline surfing, push notifications, and much more!

But have you ever stopped to consider what defines a PWA? What technical elements allowed for this magnificent experience? Now, service employees who made a significant contribution to the development of PWA, a mobile app industry disruptor, enter the picture.

Let's look at how the progressive web application (PWA) development process works with service workers.

A person can reach a website by inputting the domain name or direct IP address if they are seeking one. The accessibility of PWA is related to service personnel.

A client-side JavaScript file is added to your codebase as a service worker. It exists in the space between the server and the browser and generates background functions to mimic the characteristics of the app and produce the appearance and feel of an original native application.

3. Web application manifest

When a user installs a web app on a mobile device, a JSON file called a manifest informs the browser how the program should function and behave.

Even though this file just includes the essential details about your application, it is crucial to making the PWA seem as well as a standard native application.

The web app manifest's core details are as follows:

The browsers then advise the users to install the progressive web application after the requirements have been satisfied.

The procedure for making PWA browser-compatible

Nearly all of the most recent browsers enable progressive web app features like push notifications. However, browsers must assist service workers and, for the most part, do the same.

The good news is that because a progressive web application is a web application, sometimes consumers may still browse it without all of its capabilities.

Progressive web apps are, nevertheless, quite compatible with the Google Chrome browser. Chrome will automatically allow users to put the website on their home screen if it satisfies the progressive web app installability requirement.

How do PWAs Work? The SEO Perspective

Several misunderstandings need to be cleared up when discussing the compatibility of progressive web applications with SEO.

Making PWA compatible with SEO is the catch. The goal is to create progressive web apps SEO-friendly, which isn't attainable by simply constructing them; you'll need to demonstrate them appropriately.

Like other web pages, progressive web applications may be crawled and indexed in the same manner. Although there are several techniques and approaches for making PWAs crawlable and indexed. Let's use the all-time best technique as an example:

Set your content's priority and include server-side rendering with it.

Read More: How to Develop an SEO-friendly Website Structure with Zero Coding Knowledge?

The most efficient and elegant method of overcoming the difficulty of creating PWA SEO-friendly is to prioritize content by identifying the most important aspects of your web app that you want to convey to search engines without a doubt beforehand and serving this material using server-side rendering.

By following this procedure, you can be confident that as soon as search engines see your website, they will take into account all the important information. Learn about the SEO recommended practices for these JavaScript-based websites in depth with this comprehensive guide to make your ReactJS website SEO-friendly.

When Should You Be Using PWA?

Brands typically develop popular native applications for customers to make their exploration of the company niche simpler and more enjoyable. An app can simplify users' tasks so they don't have to browse the website every time they want to learn more about a business. Users frequent websites and frequently conduct actions there.

For your visitors to experience the same content, you may create progressive web applications for the same circumstances where native apps are utilized. But before putting the PWA method into practice, there are a few things you should consider:

Read More: UX Optimization Guide: Process, Method, and Techniques

Ready-made developments

A ready-made mobile app cannot simply be converted into a progressive web app with a few clicks. PWA must be created entirely from scratch. You are already aware of how time-consuming and difficult the process of designing an app is; creating a PWA from the start simply adds to your labor.

Even though your app is out of date and that is why you're aiming for PWA, it is also possible to revive that exact app. Consider this!

Plan to focus on mobile devices only

Before PWA, companies were prepared to target both websites and applications to boost user engagement and conversion rates. PWA aims to provide user ease and corporate efficiency.

Since you're creating a single application that works on all browsers and devices and is compatible with Android and iOS, creating progressive web apps is unquestionably a win-win situation. Cross-platform programming, nevertheless, makes it possible to accomplish this.

Access the app via a web browser

The main distinction between mobile applications and progressive web apps is that the former may only be accessed through a shared link or by visiting a website directly, but the latter can be downloaded from the store.

Running an app store is hardly a stroll in the park. PWA is for you if you believe it is tough to appear in the top search results. Progressive web applications will perform best for you if your website already has a sufficient quantity of loyal or in-demand visitors.

Need advanced mobile device features

PWA is unable to make use of many modern mobile device capabilities. Proximity sensors, sophisticated camera controls, audio or video recording, fingerprint scanning, NFC, or even Bluetooth are incompatible with progressive web applications. With your development team, you must discuss possible solutions to this problem.

Read More: Your Go-To Guide For Launching A Mobile App In 2022

The dilemma doesn't over here...... 

You may wonder whether or not you require PWA for the following reasons:

  • When you don't have the money to create a whole app.
  • You must reach the market quickly.
  • When search engine-appropriate indexing is crucial.
  • Your company has to be cross-platform compatible.
  • You must connect with more people.

The adage "every coin has two sides" is appropriate here! It's not like we are pointing up flaws in the PWA idea. Just so you can be completely certain before making a decision, we want you to be informed of every aspect of this idea.

Read More: Understanding Web 3.0 And Why It Is Considered Important

Having learned everything there is to know about PWA, let's move on to the actual topic at hand:

Best Practices to Adopt When Creating PWA

There are more considerations for developing progressive web apps in addition to picking the right framework. Refer to these top 4 techniques to make the process of generating PWAs wonderful, fascinating, and simple:

1. The adage "less is more"

Progressive web apps are designed to be easy for consumers to navigate and utilize. As you will be prioritizing things in this situation, you need to be mindful of the less is more principle.

Make that your call to action (CTA) and other application components that encourage users to execute a desired action has been properly specified and positioned.

There shouldn't be any extraneous information to divert a user from their intended course.

2. Handle the Loading Speed

PWA is mostly recognized for its quick loading times. However, if your target audience is unable to carry out the necessary tasks, such as finishing the checkout process, then its effectiveness is meaningless.

The main cause of PWAs' increased bounce rate is user behavior, namely actions like completing forms and finishing the checkout process.

Try to find solutions for these onerous issues, such as autofill, integrated online payments, one-tap sign-up, and automated sign-in, to reduce friction and provide everything a customer needs at checkout while maintaining the process' security.

3. Implement the feature “OFFLINE”

Make sure you are utilizing progressive web applications to their full potential since they are the greatest way to increase user engagement and conversion rates.

Offline use of the feature can significantly accelerate your progress toward your objectives. Users only require ease! Sometimes, a network issue may generate distractions when people are interacting with your PWA. Offline features' facilitation serves as your savior in such circumstances!


4. Lighthouse to be used as Node Module

Lighthouse is a new open-source performance management tool from Google that may be used as a Node module or a Chrome extension. With Lighthouse, you can audit any web page or web app and get a detailed report of the page. Additionally, you may obtain a reference document for every audit item that explains why the audit is significant and how to improve audits that are failing.

Wrapping words

PWA is a contentious idea, but having all the facts there in front of you makes them clearer and easier for you to comprehend. Everything that will cause you to consider developing PWA has been covered in this article. Additionally, we have provided you with a wealth of useful information and techniques that will facilitate the development of PWA.

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