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The Technical Components of Progressive Web Apps

Mobile websites are the new ones keeping smartphone users connected to brands 24/7. According to statistics, about 87% of mobile users spend time using mobile apps rather than on mobile websites. Added to this, 50% of digital time is spent on smartphone apps.

People are not questioning whether or not their brand needs a mobile app with these promising statistics, but rather what type of mobile app they need. In the past, your choice mobile app development company only had hybrid, cross-platform, and native apps to choose from.

Nowadays, however, there is a new option — progressive web apps (PWA). This denotes a set of mobile application development techniques entailing the building of apps that resemble native ones.

They, however, have full browser compatibility and responsiveness, an app-like interface, self-updates, safety and push notifications, unlike conventional native apps. Their automated updates, offline work mode, easy installation, and discoverability enhance the user experience of PWAs.

Here are the primary components of PWAs that support their functionality.

The Web App Manifest

This is a JSON file responsible for the native app interface of PWAs. The developer will use the manifest to control the app’s display to its eventual user and its launch. This file also allows the developer to get a centralized location for your web app’s metadata.

It contains an app’s short and full names, links to icons, the starting URL, and the icon’s location, size, and type. The app’s developer can also use the manifest to define a theme color and splash screen for the app’s address bar.

Service Worker

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This supports the primary features of PWAs, including the background syncs, push notifications, and offline work mode. The service worker of PWAs is a JavaScript file that runs independently from the app or web page.

It will respond to the users’ exchanges with the PWA but is short term and only runs for specific events. The service worker of your PWA also allows the caching of an application shell so that it instantly loads on repeat user visits.

The App’s Shell Architecture

Maintaining and building PWAs entails the separation of dynamic and static content. Shell architecture is the app’s underlying interface.

It will include the core design features that make the app run with no internet connection. This mainly works for JavaScript-heavy applications comprising a single page and apps that have changing content and moderately stable navigation.

Transport Layer Security

Transport layer security (TLS) denotes the standard of robust and secure data interchange between applications. PWAs leverage the TLS protocol. The reliability of the data shared on this protocol requires the serving of a website through HTTPS and the installation of SSL certificates on relevant servers.

Progressive web apps with the above core features are all the rage currently. The discoverability of these apps is the core feature that boosts their competitive advantage over other apps. This is because it does not need several steps to download, like other apps.

Research has shown that each extra step required for an app’s installation reduces its users by about 20%. The apps are also way lighter compared to other mobile apps and have a lower acquisition cost.