DEV Community


Posted on

How to Build Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) with Node.js

Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) have revolutionized the web development landscape, offering a seamless user experience across various devices and network conditions. By leveraging the power of Node.js, developers can create high-performing and engaging PWAs that combine the best of both web and mobile applications.

In this article, we will explore the steps to build PWAs with Node.js, and provide practical code samples to demonstrate key concepts.

  • Understanding Progressive Web Apps:
    Before diving into the development process, it's essential to grasp the fundamentals of PWAs. PWAs are web applications that leverage modern web technologies to deliver an app-like experience to users, regardless of the platform they are using. They offer features such as offline capabilities, push notifications, and improved performance, making them an ideal choice for enhancing user engagement and retention.

  • Setting Up the Node.js Environment:
    The first step is to set up the Node.js environment on your machine. Install Node.js from the official website and ensure you have npm (Node Package Manager) installed. Verify the installation by running node -v and npm -v commands in your terminal.

  • Creating a New Node.js Project:
    Using npm, create a new Node.js project. Navigate to your desired project directory and execute the following command:

npm init
Enter fullscreen mode Exit fullscreen mode

Follow the prompts to set up your project's package.json file, which will manage your project's dependencies.

  • Installing Required Dependencies: For building PWAs, we need several dependencies to handle service workers, caching, and other PWA-related functionalities. Install the following packages using npm:
npm install express
npm install workbox-webpack-plugin
Enter fullscreen mode Exit fullscreen mode
  • Implementing the Express Server: Express.js is a popular Node.js framework that simplifies the process of building web applications. Create a new file, server.js, and set up a basic Express server:
const express = require('express');
const app = express();
const port = process.env.PORT || 3000;


app.listen(port, () => {
  console.log(`Server running on port ${port}`);
Enter fullscreen mode Exit fullscreen mode
  • Creating the Public Directory:
    Create a new directory named public in your project's root folder. This directory will contain the static assets of your PWA, including HTML, CSS, and JavaScript files.

  • Building the Frontend:
    In the public directory, create an index.html file, which will serve as the entry point of your PWA. Ensure it includes the necessary meta tags for PWA compatibility:

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html lang="en">
  <meta charset="UTF-8">
  <meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1.0">
  <title>My Progressive Web App</title>
  <!-- Add PWA meta tags here -->
  <!-- Your app content goes here -->
Enter fullscreen mode Exit fullscreen mode
  • Implementing Service Workers: Service workers are at the heart of PWAs, enabling offline capabilities and caching. In the root of your project, create a new file named service-worker.js:

  ({ request }) => request.destination === 'image',
  new workbox.strategies.CacheFirst()

  ({ request }) => request.destination === 'script' || request.destination === 'style',
  new workbox.strategies.StaleWhileRevalidate()

  ({ request }) => request.mode === 'navigate',
  new workbox.strategies.NetworkFirst()
Enter fullscreen mode Exit fullscreen mode
  • Configuring Webpack: To bundle our frontend code and service worker into a single file, we need to configure Webpack. Create a new file named webpack.config.js:
const path = require('path');
const { InjectManifest } = require('workbox-webpack-plugin');

module.exports = {
  entry: './public/index.js',
  output: {
    path: path.resolve(__dirname, 'public'),
    filename: 'bundle.js',
  plugins: [
    new InjectManifest({
      swSrc: './service-worker.js',
      swDest: 'service-worker.js',
Enter fullscreen mode Exit fullscreen mode
  • Building the Frontend Code: In the public directory, create an index.js file that will serve as the entry point for your frontend code:
console.log('Hello, Progressive Web App!');
Enter fullscreen mode Exit fullscreen mode
  • Building the PWA: To build your PWA, run the following command in your terminal:
npx webpack
Enter fullscreen mode Exit fullscreen mode
  • Starting the Server: Finally, start your Node.js server to see your PWA in action:
node server.js
Enter fullscreen mode Exit fullscreen mode


By following this comprehensive guide, you have successfully built a Progressive Web App using Node.js. PWAs are a powerful tool for enhancing user experiences, and with Node.js, developers can leverage a versatile and robust environment to create high-performing applications. Keep exploring PWAs and experiment with different features to take your web applications to the next level!

Thanks for reading...
Happy Coding!

Top comments (0)