9 December 2019

The pros & cons of PWA

Welcome back everyone to the
Hussey Coding blog.

Over the last few weeks, we've been focusing on some of the main features of PWA. So to finish off our series, we'll be looking at some of the other things that make PWA one of the most talked-about technologies to date, along with some things that are maybe not so great about them. Today we'll be looking at...

PWA really does seem to be the best of both worlds. Combining the reach and capabilities of the web browser with the ease of interaction that comes from native apps, PWA's are faster, bigger and stronger, costing much less to build than the traditional methods of having separate websites and apps.
The secret is that it all comes from one codebase. There is no longer a need to develop an app for iOS and Android separately while also developing a website. As long as your user has access to the internet, then they can access your PWA at any time, accessing all the advantages that come with it. Perks like once the PWA is downloaded to their smart device or desktop they won't even need an internet connection to use it. This is thanks to the cache and service worker doing their thing in the background.

Of course, another advantage of creating everything together is that it reduces costs. You don't need 3-4 teams of developers and programmers working on the same content now for different platforms, seriously reducing your expenses. Your deploy times are reduced too as you won't need to wait for approval from the store owners, once your PWA is ready to go then, it's ready to go. If that wasn't enough, there are no cuts to pay to the stores either so that 30% you used to have to pay to Apple for special features in your app has just been wiped out! While it is a huge advantage to not have to submit your PWA to the app store, it will come with some slight disadvantages too.

Firstly you will not benefit from app store traffic, whereas before you would compete to become the best app in the store by gaining more users etc. This is now not possible for you to do. Having said that it's not actually all that bad since on the one hand, you may be losing AST but, on the other, you are gaining SEO! Progressive web apps are basically websites that look like apps and as such are now subject to Search engine optimisation!
Google has even factored PWA into their ranking formula. This means that if you are operating a PWA site then, you're about to be bumped up the SEO ladder making it easier for people to find your store.

The second disadvantage of not submitting to the app store is that, as far as we can tell, it would be extremely difficult to monetise PWA's. Unlike native apps, you can't charge someone to download your game or service so that initial source of revenue is gone but again this is not really a huge deal as in-app purchases are still possible.

But what about the browser? The short answer is that it doesn't matter. You could be using firefox, explorer, chrome or whatever, PWA will still work as they are websites but better and their better because they are progressive. That means that as your browser gets more impressive, so does your PWA, as the browser becomes more advanced, so does your PWA but wait there's more! Not only are they progressive, but they are always compatible too. It makes no difference what version of chrome you have, how old your firefox is or when you last updated internet explorer! PWA's will always adjust and work on that version of your browser, in short, there's almost no stopping these things!

There is also the added bonus of your website now having access to push notifications! Push notifications are those messages that pop up on your phone no matter what you're doing. You could be texting when your favourite game tells you your farm has finished building or you're using the sat nav and get a news update appear on your screen.
Imagine the kind of difference that could make to conversions in sales if your website was able to do that through PWA! Has Susie left items in her cart? No worries, send a push notification. Worried that Matt isn't aware of your latest sale? Not a problem, just push notifications to his phone, and he'll be right there! And it isn't specific to sales either, want to tell people your latest blog is live? Send a reminder for the latest meet up? Or have some exciting news to share with your audience? PWA has your back!

When researching PWA, we came across this split in the community as to whether PWA's can function alongside or fully integrate/interact with other features on a users device. Things like accessing Bluetooth or the devices camera or geolocation features are just some of the features in question. With some ingenuity and out of the box thinking, anything is possible. As we've said in a previous blog, even IF this is next to impossible now, just give it time. There was a time not so long ago when native apps couldn't interact with each other but now you can play your favourite game using your Facebook account while using your camera to take a new profile picture all at the same time. In short, if it's not possible now just give it time, someone somewhere will fix it at some point!

Thank you as always for letting us be a part of your day. Listed below are all of our contact details should you want to get in touch with us here at Hussey Coding. There are also some links to Developer Connection, the new Magento project marketplace, where you can sign up now to be a part of something great! If you missed any of the articles in our PWA series, you can find the links below our contact details. Please feel free to read, like, comment, share and repost any or all of them, we would really appreciate the support!
Until next time, stay safe and have a great day.

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1. PWA - What's all the fuss about?
2. PWA Speed - Websites vs PWA
3. Interacting with PWA
4. PWA's are they really reliable?
5. PWA, what does it cost?

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