What are PWAs and How to use them

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PWA stands for Progressive Web App.It is a new technology that lets you use a website as if it was a native mobile app installed on your phone.The term “progressive web app” was coined in 2015 by Google engineers  Frances Berriman and Alex Russell. It is not a new set of technologies or frameworks but rather a set of characteristics that lets web application function similar to a desktop or mobile application. The goal is to make user experience so similar that the user is unable to distinguish between a PWA and a native app.

Google provides a list of Checklist that  a developer can follow, to make their web pages qualify to be PWA. They also provide a tool called Lighthouse which performs an audit on your web pages and gives you a report on PWA,performance,accessibility metrics of your website.

Progressive Web Apps are useful for both users and developers. For developers it is a boon since these apps are platform independent and you don’t have to maintain various distributions for different platforms. User engagement also increases with apps rather than with Web pages despite websites being more common.For users, PWAs help in saving storage space, data usage.They also help with the entire update process since the user is not required to download the updates, rather the updates are done at the server side and changes are reflected the next time the app is refreshed or started.

Although, not all websites have implemented PWAs. But, here are a few examples of major sites which have done that:-

How to get PWAs on your Android.

Step 1: Open your Chrome browser in your phone and go to the desired website.(Instagram in this case)

Step 2: Tap on the 3 dotted menu option and then select ‘Add to Home screen’

 

Step 3: Then  a Add to Home screen box will appear where you can the change the name if you want. Then tap on ‘ADD’.

Now look for the app icon in your home screen and open it up. The interface will be very much like the regular native app.

Despite many similarities many PWAs are still slightly limited when compared to their regular apps. But with improving web technologies this difference will continue to shrink. Even Apple’s Safari and Microsoft’s Edge have began supporting this standard.So will you be ditching your native apps?

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