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Progressive Web Applications Explained

What are Progressive Web Applications?

Progressive web applications are applications built using web-platform technologies, but display a mobile-style user-interface. Progressive web applications, also known as PWAs, were originally given the name back in 2015 by Google's Alex Russell and Frances Berriman. They coined the name and concept of PWAs after seeing the need to “build better experiences across devices and contexts within a single codebase”. This means that their goal was to build applications for all devices while still keeping the same code for each one. As development continues in 2024, progressive web apps are still one of the most-used design styles in software development. In this article, we will discuss some of the features that set PWAs apart from other applications.

Progressive User-Interface

One of the key features of a PWA is it's user-interface. The UI of a progressive web app most times can adapt to the screen of any kind of device appropriately. For example, a PWA that is opened in the browser of a phone will have the same look as a native app on a phone. Whenever the screen size is a adjusted on the specific device, the sizing and styles change to look as if the app has been downloaded from the app store. This allows users to feel like they are interacting with an downloadable app, because of the ease of navigation throughout the site.



The ability to install progressive web apps to the home screen of a mobile device is another feature that has driven developers to follow this design style. PWAs, just like apps downloaded from the app store, have the ability to be seen on the home screen of your device. While the web app is not really a native app, it displays as one and opens up as a website when clicked on. Instead of having to bookmark, write down, or memorize your favorite sites, you can just add them to install them to your device.


Native vs. Progressive Web Apps

Native and Progressive Web Apps may seem very similar to one another when first taking a look. The biggest and most important difference between native apps and PWAs is that native apps are actually built using mobile-platform technologies and PWAs aren't. Native apps are placed on to the app store and requires money to do so, while progressive web apps aren't. Many people get these app styles mixed up because they can both be seen on the home screen of a device and both look similar on the UI side of things. Some companies and developers argue that PWAs are better than native apps since they don't require users to go through the process of a download.

native vs pwa


In conclusion, if you are interested in building an application that you would like to be mobile-based, try going the PWA route. You can potentially save money from not having to pay to add your app to the app store. Also, if you are used to creating web-based applications, you can use the same technologies and you won't have to learn any native technologies. I hope this article gave you some insight on progressive web applications and how they can be beneficial when building your own applications.

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