There is a new buzzword in the app development world: PWA. But, what does it mean? In this blog, our app development specialists reveal everything you need to know about the progressive web app.

The app development industry is in a constant state of movement.

Whether it’s growth of the market or evolution of the technology, something is always growing in the world of app creation. Recently, there has been a lot of talk about how the modern app is on its way out the door. A new type of app, the progressive web app, is instead stepping in to take the place of the app as we know it today.

Coined as a PWA (progressive web app), the interest around this new technology is certainly more than just novelty. But is it really about to transform the landscape of apps as we know them, or is it just another piece of the puzzle?

Today, our app builders from the UK unwrap this new app-sized present and explain exactly what the introduction of the PWA means for the industry as a whole — and indeed apps themselves.

What Exactly is a Progressive Web App?

So a progressive web app is like an app – but isn’t.

It has all the functionality of an app that you’d expect. For something like a shoe-shopping app, you’ll have order functions. For a restaurant, you can order food or book tables. For games, you can… well, play games.

However, PWAs don’t exist like your traditional app. Instead, they live out on the internet, like a website, which means you can find them in Google or be linked to them. Instead of downloading a progressive web app, though, you stream it. This means you don’t have to go to an app store, find and download it. You can just instantly click and access, like a website.

The PWA is essentially an app-website hybrid. All the features of an app, with all the functionality of a website.

But that doesn’t mean you’re stuck if you run out of data or don’t have WiFi. You download a PWA directly, which means you can still have it on your home screen, like a normal app if you’d like.

App Builders from the UK Talk PWA Benefits

So PWAs work differently to your standard app. They exist in the online world instead of on app stores. But, is that really better than the current form of apps we have? Well, yes. The modern app has some pretty major flaws which detract from their overall experience and potential.

Perhaps the most glaring issue with apps is that they are fairly hard to find for users and tough to market for businesses. Most apps don’t ever reach the 1000 downloads mark — and when you consider how apps are found, this isn’t surprising.

An app exists on the app store. But people don’t sit on an app store, randomly searching for apps they might like. They go there with intent. This means that in order for a user to find your app, they must be searching for it. That, or it needs to chart or get featured, which isn’t easy for small businesses. Getting users to download your app isn’t impossible, but it requires a strong marketing and awareness campaign.

However, with progressive web apps, things are different. You don’t need to go out with intent to find these apps, as they exist like websites. Instead, you happen across them when searching for something. For example, if you are looking for a takeaway, you may just search for looking takeaways near you. If you have a PWA for your business, it becomes available in search results. Therefore, customers can interact with it. Your app essentially becomes much more accessible to a wider audience. Prior knowledge of the app is not required to find it.

The other issue PWAs solve is navigation and connectivity. Currently, apps exist in their own bubble — an icon on your phone disconnected from everything else. But, as progressive web apps work like websites, your flow of movement can be much more natural. You can move from one app to the other, or from an app to a website, without having to visit the homepage and search for it. You can also share it on social media without having to download it.

Navigating to and from the app becomes so much simpler and faster, which is exactly what mobile phone users want.

Ready to reap the benefits of a progressive web app? All Apps4U apps come with built-in PWA functionality. Get in touch with our app builders from the UK today and start your app development project.

Does This Really Mean the End of the Current Generation of Apps?

Is the end nigh for the modern app? It is still hard to say.

PWAs offer benefits over traditional apps without the downsides. Because they can also be downloaded and stored on your phone like an ordinary app, there is nothing current generation apps have that a progressive web app doesn’t.

There are only two things preventing the demise of apps in their current form:

  1. An entrenched systemApps have been around in their current form for over a decade, existing on app stores across the world. This is how people know apps; this is how they consume them. To completely tear down this system would take a long, long time. The result is that while PWAs will rise in popularity, the app store as you know it will carry on for a while yet.

2. App store charts — Finding a wild progressive web app means it is existing on its own, outside a store. There are no charts here, no top apps for you to explore. This means that those people browsing for apps don’t have anywhere to go. It is likely that ranking websites will appear over time to categorise and recommend PWAs, but again, this will take time.

Progressive web apps are the future of mobile apps. That much is clear. However, the old ways are deeply embedded in modern society, which means they will take a long time to phase out. Given the benefits of PWAs, more and more developers will start moving towards the technology, which means the app in its current form will see less and less attention.

Our app builders from the UK make this prediction: The progressive web app does mean the end of the current generation of apps, but this future is measured in years and even decades, not months.

Interested in developing a mobile app and would like to know more about what Apps4U can offer in terms of progressive web apps? Fill out the form to the right of this blog and we’ll be in touch very soon!