Web App Vs. Progressive Web App: How Are They Different?
Technology is developing and advancing tremendously. New inventions are delivered to the market every year and all of these improve the entire domain a lot. But because there are so many options and opportunities on the market, you might end up feeling more confused than at the beginning.
Which one is the right option for you? How can you improve the website of your business so that it will attract more customers? How can you enhance the overall customer experience? Well, these are some very good questions. And you can find the answers to all of them in technology.
Today, the great majority of people are using their smartphones to navigate the internet, order food or clothes, or find an available cab. So, web developers and business owners are looking for ways to make the online experience more engaging and pleasant for their customers. And because everyone is looking to do this, there are new solutions on the market.
And Progressive Web Apps (PWA) will surely rule the future. For now, they are still at the beginning but are slowly gaining more momentum in the development world. So, what is PWA? How is it different from a regular web app? You will find the answers to these questions and many more details on this topic below.
Regular Web Apps
The first thing we need to shed more light on is regular web apps. To make the comparison between these and PWAs, we need to share more information about each of them. So, a regular web app can be translated into a website. Everyone has websites and knows how these look. A regular one means that the content that is on the website is adjusted and fits all the devices.
Usually, they are built using a nice combination of front-end and back-end technologies. The most important feature of regular web apps is that they work on web browsers. However, every browser is different, so some functionalities might not work on some of them. So, the functionality of the website depends on the browser the user uses. Furthermore, the user needs to be online to interact with any of the features available on this app.
Progressive Web Apps
Most e-Commerce businesses turn to progressive web apps so they can meet ever-increasing customer demands. They allow seamless usability with fast loading time and offline usability while reducing data consumption, which is perfect for limited mobile data plans. One of the most important characteristics of progressive web apps is that they behave like native apps. A major benefit is that the users don't have to go through a regular app installation process that takes too much time and takes up device storage.
Open Source Frameworks For Building Progressive Web Apps
Open-source frameworks are free templates that software developers can use as a foundation for apps. Frameworks are usually language-oriented, which means that each framework is used to build apps using a certain programming language. Coders often band together and create free-to-use frameworks to help each other in app development. Here are some examples of free open source frameworks that can be used for the development of PWA.
Ionic is a cross-platform open-source framework that provides tools to build both native and progressive web apps using the HTML5 programming language. It's perfect for both mobile and desktop use which makes it the perfect PWA building tool.
ReactJS is an open-source front-end development tool that allows building user-interface components. It allows you to build interactive components visible to users.
PWA Builder is a free framework that can be used to build a PWA using an available template or an existing website that we wish to turn into a PWA. It also allows numerous adjustments, maintenance, and introduction of new web capabilities to progressive web apps.
Angular is a framework designed for TypeScript and HTML users. It allows building single-page applications which makes it perfect for eCommerce users.
AMP / Accelerated Mobile Pages is a project developed by Google that allows the creation of pages that load fast. AMP allows you to build a version of your landing page that's instantly cashed on Google so it loads faster. Another reason why AMPs are faster is that they restrict HTML and CSS components for quicker mobile page rendering.
Which framework we’re going to use to build our PWAs, depends on the purpose of the software solution we’re developing. Some frameworks are used to improve PWA capabilities, others allow you to build your progressive web app from scratch.
Differences Between Regular Web Apps and Progressive Web Apps
So, what are the differences between these two? Let's find out! Even though they are pretty similar, there are also a lot of differences that tell these two apart. The most notable difference is the native experience that PWAs provide, without the hustle of installing and constantly updating the app to use it.
Furthermore, PWAs are fully responsive, meaning they will run optimally across different devices and operating systems. It’s logistically and economically beneficial because you don’t have to build different apps for each platform you wish to serve.
Unlike regular web apps that depend on the availability of internet connection, progressive web apps allow you to use basic features even if you're not connected to the internet. Since most resources are cashed, loading times are faster and data consumption is lower. As a result, the user experience is enhanced. Users can also choose to receive push notifications, which eCommerce business owners use to inform their customers of impending sales and special offers.
Progressive Web Apps Security
Secure tokens allow users to log in to different web portals using a single username and password. This is beneficial because it allows seamless access to different portals without remembering dozens of different security instructions. To enhance PWA security, we can use a series of different safety techniques and concepts. Here are a few suggestions and how they work:
The use of OAuth and DIS
Imagine having a PWA that's authorized through OAuth integrated with the Azure Active directory. The app will request access to the API that's located on the Azure server. Each time the app makes a request for access it needs to provide an OAuth token.
Be Aware that Securing Tokens Using Web Storage Is Highly Risky!
Securing tokens using web storage, however, is highly risky because web storages are vulnerable to cross-platform attacks. For this reason, developers use HTTP-only cookies, which means that retrieved tokens are not going to be stored on the client's side. One of the best ways to diminish all safety issues regarding secure tokens is to develop your PWA in such a way that all API calls are directed to the domain that hosts both PWA and web API.
The Main Benefits of Secure Tokens
Service workers are scripts that allow the transfer of information between the front and the backend of a PWA. Since they are registered only on browsers that are encrypted using an HTTPS security protocol they can't be endangered by a third party such as a malicious script.
Service workers don't interact with cookies or DOM directly, their access to cache storage is constrained to caching purposes, and they can't read or set forbidden headers, which makes them an important security benefit.
Another benefit of PWAs is the manifest file which is set in the HTML and holds information such as app name, and other front-end features. The existence of a manifest file prevents malicious software from targeting the app and changing any of its features.
Wondering what is the difference between regular web apps and progressive ones? Hopefully, this article shed more light on the features they come with. Progressive web apps or PWAs are developed using the same technology stack. You need both front-end and back-end technologies to build it, but also a few frameworks. But the differences are immense.
For example, if you want to offer your customers a native app experience, you can use PWAs. you can update the app in real-time, without waiting for users to allow the update to happen. They are also more engaging and can help you accomplish your audience retention target.
Progressive web apps are easier to use than regular web apps, which makes them the first choice of businesses and developers. Technology is developing a lot and will improve even more in the following years. So, keep an eye on the changes that will follow and make sure you implement the already available ones.