“Progressive web app”: in a sector sometimes awash with jargon, here’s another term you need to learn. The good news is that it has a pretty simple definition. The even better news is that we attach it to a type of app that is seriously useful and could really help your business.
Traditionally, the separation in the app world has been between “native” apps – pieces of software that run directly off your device, and which, being designed for its operating system, have access to your iPad or smartphone’s features (such as camera or GPS) – and “web” apps – which run within web browsers on any system, but tend to be more limited in their integrated functionality (think web mail or Google Docs).
Progressive web apps split the difference between these two types, and fuse the best aspects of each within a single app. Essentially, they incorporate the cross-platform compatibility of web apps with the ability to make use of specific native features of the device being used to access them.
This has been made possible by developments in how websites are built and coded. Previously, web apps were quite static and, though widely accessible, pretty limited and even a little clunky. Progressive apps lend huge power to a web app’s elbow – and are starting to challenge the dominance of their native cousins.
To be clear, a progressive web app is essentially a website that displays, and behaves, like a mobile app. That extra step beyond your webmail interface, they can load rapidly on any operating system and any device – but also interact with that device as if they were made for it.
Even more crucially, they share with native apps the ability to work while users are offline. Whereas traditional web apps of course only work when a device is connected to the internet – because they accessed via a web browsers – progressive apps utilise caching functions to store data locally and offer functionality when the user isn’t able to hook up to WiFi or a network.
Without the need to download it, a progressive app is available for direct deployment. And, because it is essentially a website, a progressive app is also a lot easier to tweak and update than a native app. All this makes the progressive app an ideal compromise between the two forms for many a business – so why not explore the potential of progressive apps with us?
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We provide mobile app design and development for all project requirements, both consumer and business apps. If you’re in need of a mobile app or just have an idea for a project you wish to discuss, please contact us to arrange a consultancy.