Is a PWA Right for Your Business?

18 December 2022

By Olivier Côté

Progressive web apps (PWAs) are web applications that use modern web technologies to deliver a native app-like experience to users. They are designed to work on any device, including desktop computers, tablets, and smartphones, and can be accessed through a web browser, just like any other website. In this article, we will take a look at the pros and cons of PWAs, its potential for the future and some examples of successful use cases.

Pros of Progressive Web Apps

  • Improved performance: PWAs use caching to store frequently used resources, which allows them to load faster and work offline. This can improve the overall performance of the app and provide a better user experience.
  • Increased engagement: PWAs can send push notifications to users, just like native apps, which can increase user engagement and retention.
  • Easy to use: PWAs can be accessed through a web browser, so users don’t have to download and install them from an app store. This makes them easier to use and eliminates the need to go through the app store review process.
  • Cross-platform compatibility: PWAs work on any device and any operating system, so developers don’t have to create separate versions for different platforms.
  • Automatic updates: PWAs are able to update themselves automatically, without requiring users to manually update them. This can be a significant advantage, as it ensures that users are always using the latest version of the app and can benefit from the latest features and bug fixes. This can also reduce the workload on developers, as they don’t have to rely on users to update the app in order to receive new updates
  • No app store fees: Because PWAs are accessed through a web browser, they don’t have to be published on app stores. This means that developers don’t have to pay any fees or commissions to app stores for hosting their apps. This can be a significant cost savings for developers, especially for those who are just starting out or who are working on a budget.

Cons of Progressive Web Apps

  • Limited access to native device features: PWAs don’t have access to all of the native features of a device, such as fingerprint scanning, proximity sensors, NFC, Bluetooth, geofencing, inter-app communications, and advanced camera controls.
  • Increase battery usage : While app sharing via URL is convenient, it requires the connection, which drains a device battery faster than a native app.
  • Limited discoverability: PWAs aren’t listed in app stores, so they may be harder for users to discover.

The Future of Progressive Web Apps

PWAs are still a relatively new technology, and their future is still uncertain. However, they have the potential to revolutionize the way we use the web, as they offer the convenience and functionality of native apps without the need to download and install them. As web technologies continue to improve, it’s likely that PWAs will become more powerful and widely adopted.

In conclusion, progressive web apps offer a number of advantages, including improved performance, increased engagement, ease of use, cross-platform compatibility, automatic updates and no app store fees. However, they also have some limitations, including limited access to native device features, limited discoverability, and increased battery usage. Despite these limitations, the future of PWAs looks bright, as they have the potential to transform the way we use the web.

Examples of successful PWA’s

  • Twitter Lite: Twitter’s PWA is designed to work on any device, including smartphones and tablets, and can be accessed through a web browser. It offers many of the same features as the native app, including the ability to tweet, view timelines, and receive notifications.
  • Forbes: Forbes’ PWA offers a fast, responsive, and engaging experience for users, with articles that load quickly and can be easily shared on social media.
  • Shopify : Shopify, Canadian eCommerce platform, has launched the Litefy app to allow merchants to upgrade their online themes into progressive web apps.
  • Alibaba: Alibaba’s PWA is a global e-commerce platform that offers a wide range of products and services to users around the world. It offers a fast and convenient shopping experience, with the ability to search for products, view detailed product pages, and make purchases.
  • AliExpress: AliExpress is another popular e-commerce platform that offers a PWA for users. It allows users to browse and purchase products, track orders, and receive personalized recommendations, all from their web browser.

Still figuring out if you need a PWA?