Progressive web applications are apps that use various features such as manifests, service worker APIs, etc., to provide users with an experience like native apps. In addition, PWAs offer users multiple advantages such as responsive design, easy installation, progressive enhancements, network independence, and improved security.
So, how do you put your PWAs in front of the crowd?
To understand the entire process correctly, one must first understand its design and operations. If you are aware, then you can skip the following section. Otherwise, read on!
A Bit about Progressive Web Applications
The term Progressive Web Applications is not just an official or technical name. It’s the shorthand term coined by Google to denote the concept or practice of creating flexible & adaptable applications using only web technologies.
Today, almost every website, from businesses offering Java assignment help to plagiarism checker online tools, doubles as both generic websites AND progressive web applications.
But, how are PWAs different from regular websites & native mobile apps?
Well, progressive web applications deliver enhanced user experience thanks to their enhanced capabilities. PWAs can reach anyone on any platform or device, are designed on a specific codebase, are easily installable, and integrate substantially with the native OS. In addition, they can run offline and become integral to the device’s home screen or the app launcher.
- Native or platform-specific apps for smartphones and desktops are standalone entities. Users install them in their systems and run them locally on their OS. These applications interact with the operating system to read & write files, manipulate data, avail services, access hardware, and the like.
Once installed, native apps behave as if they are part of the system.
- Progressive web applications are more discoverable, flexible & agile than their native counterparts. Furthermore, unlike native apps found only on app stores, PWAs can be discovered online and made more discoverable through SEO.
PWAs are unique because they harness web and native apps best. But, like native apps, they integrate pretty well with the system & can run offline. And, like web applications, they are easily discoverable online.
Easy to install and better discoverability, network & platform independence, and high security & responsiveness are some of the most prominent benefits of PWAs. No wonder they have become so popular in the industry.
The Underlying Architecture
One of the most popular approaches to developing progressive web applications is the app shell technique. This method employs a mix of client-side and server-side rendering and primarily follows the offline first practice.
Critical aspects of the app shell design methodology include:
- An emphasis on a minimal user interface
- Caching for offline availability with new content requested from the server
- Fast loading and quickly rendered structure
- Progressive enhancement (the app can run like a website in case of any incompatibility
- High linkable and responsive
Another powerful technique is by using the Streams API. Follow this link to know more. As of now, we won’t dwell any further into the intricacies of PWA development.
Launching a Progressive Web Application on App Stores
Currently, there are three significant online app stores out there: the Google Play app store, the iOS App Store, and the Microsoft Windows Store. If you are looking to launch or publish your progressive web applications on any or all these stores, be ready to shell out some money, spend a lot of time, and go through a lot of red tape!
- Putting your PWA on the major app stores makes them easily discoverable. But, getting your app on the stores, for both Google & iOS, will cost you around $99 per year for Apple and a one-time fee of $25 for Google Play.
The Microsoft Windows Store, however, does not charge you anything.
- Apple requires developers to wrap their progressive web applications in a native wrapper, such as Cordova, to interact seamlessly with iOS.
Google accepts PWAs with open arms. It will allow your app to interact substantially with the OS and provide numerous services.
Microsoft injects its proprietary API into a PWA’s global namespace, enabling it to do everything it needs or wants.
Google Play is the winner, with Microsoft App Store coming second. Google even published a command line interface called Bubblewrap, which will generate a Java wrapper automatically for PWAs. This allows coders with no Android development experience to skip using Android Studio, build PWA projects & publish directly on the Play Store.
On the other hand, Apple is clearly hostile to progressive web applications! Without Cordova API, iOS will deny you from asking permissions and face reduced functionalities, broken features & incredible anomalies.
- Submitting your PWA to any app store requires one to go through a registration process, followed by business verification and some lengthy red tape.
Apple will need you to prove that you are a legitimate, registered business establishment. A third party will verify business credentials.
Google and Microsoft do not engage in any stringent verification processes.
- Apple requires app owners to register their businesses with a firm Dun & Bradstreet, the third party that does background verification for Apple. So be ready for a long-drawn registration process that may take two to four days or more if something goes awry!
Google Play and the Windows Store ask for some minimal but crucial details. You can get your PWA on their platforms within an hour at max.
(If you want to publish your app on Apple’s store but do not want to deal with all the red tape, then PWABuilder can help you big time. Check it out here!)
The Final Verdict
If you want your PWA to appear on the iOS App Store, be ready to spend time & money and get your patience tested. Apple’s elitism and hostility to progressive applications are pretty evident from the extensive & intricate process required to mask a PWA into a native app.
For Google, download Android Studio, get a security certificate, and then package your PWA using the Studio. Then upload the entire package to the Android Developer website.
And in the case of Microsoft, use the community edition of Visual Studio to generate an .appx package and then upload it to Microsoft Dev Center.
All in all, publishing or launching your PWA onto an app store is a task.
Google is the clear winner, making it extremely easy to launch PWAs, followed by Microsoft. On the other hand, Apple forces you to buy a MAC, use native wrappers, play around with security certificates, and wait days for business verification & registration!
And that wraps up this write-up! Hope it was an exciting and informative read for you.
Author-Bio: Ryan Garcia is a software engineer with more than 12 years of assignment help industry experience. He works with a major development company in Cardiff and is also a part-time tutor & writer with MyAssignmenthelp.co.uk, a leading assignment and assignment writer service in the UK.