Guide to develop Progressive web app

Guide to developing a progressive web app

16 Nov 2023


Ever felt like the digital world is moving at lightning speed? You’re not alone. 🌐 Every day, countless tech-savvy consumers are hopping online, expecting more from their digital experiences. 

Remember when mobile sites were the big thing? Well, times have changed. Now, it’s all about mobile apps. 

But here’s the catch: traditional apps come with their fair share of headaches. High development costs, compatibility issues… the list goes on. But what if there was a game-changer? Enter Progressive Web Apps (PWAs).

Think of them as the superhero solution to those app challenges we all love to hate. Ready to dive in?

Let’s get started!

What is a Progressive Web App (PWA)?

Let’s start with the basics.

Definition and Characteristics of PWAs:

Progressive Web Apps are like that perfect blend of coffee – they give you the best of both worlds. 

Combining the strengths of mobile sites and native apps, PWAs are web applications that offer a full-blown app experience right in your browser. Here’s what makes them stand out:

  • Responsive: They fit any device, be it a smartphone, tablet, or desktop.
  • Offline Capabilities: No internet? No problem. PWAs can work offline.
  • Fast: Say goodbye to slow loading times. PWAs are all about speed.
  • Safe: Thanks to HTTPS, your data remains secure.
  • Engaging: With features like push notifications, they keep users hooked.

Native Apps vs. Mobile Web Pages vs. PWAs:

Imagine you’re at a tech buffet. On one plate, you have native apps – rich in features but often heavy and tied to app stores. 

On the next plate, mobile web pages – light and accessible but sometimes lacking in functionality. 

Now, PWAs? They’re that delightful dessert you didn’t know you needed. Merging the best parts of native apps and mobile web pages, PWAs offer a seamless, fast, and immersive experience without the baggage.

A Quick Stroll Down Memory Lane:

So, where did this brilliant idea come from? The concept of PWAs isn’t as new as you might think. 

The seeds were planted back when developers and tech enthusiasts started dreaming of web applications that could rival native apps in performance and user experience. Google took the lead, championing the cause, and voilà, PWAs started gaining traction.

Mobile Commerce Statistics

Mobile commerce has been on a meteoric rise, and the numbers are here to prove it. With the digital age in full swing, our mobile devices have become more than just communication tools. 

They’re our shopping assistants, our wallets, and our gateways to the vast world of e-commerce. Let’s dive into some compelling statistics that highlight the significance of mobile commerce:

  • The Mobile User Landscape: As of now, there are over 5.3 billion unique mobile users worldwide. This massive number underscores the importance of businesses adapting to the mobile-first approach.
  • Shopping On-The-Go: Back in 2018, mobile users dedicated a whopping 18 billion hours to shopping-related apps. Fast forward to today, and over 50% of global web traffic originates from mobile applications.
  • Expert Predictions:
    • Mordor Intelligence anticipates a 29.5% growth in the mobile payments market.
    • Business Wire projects that global M-commerce sales will represent over half of all eCommerce sales.
    • As of 2020, there’s been a staggering 450% revenue growth in mobile commerce compared to figures from 2015.
    • Statista forecasts global M-Commerce sales to reach an impressive 4 trillion USD by 2022.
    • WhaTech predicts a 56.5% growth surge for the global mobile coupon industry by 2025.
    • According to Synchrony, 70% of consumers have at least one shopping application on their mobile devices.
    • Emarketer estimates that nearly 80 million individuals will utilize mobile payments in the US by 2023.
    • A significant 75% of shoppers utilize their mobile devices to compare prices while shopping in physical stores.

These statistics not only highlight the growing importance of mobile commerce but also emphasize the need for businesses to adapt and optimize for the mobile experience. As the lines between physical and digital shopping continue to blur, the significance of mobile commerce in shaping the future of retail becomes undeniable.

With such a significant shift towards mobile commerce, it’s crucial for businesses to stay ahead of the curve. In the next section, we’ll explore how Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) are revolutionizing the mobile shopping experience.

Technical Components of PWA

Ah, the technical nitty-gritty! Don’t worry; we’ll break it down in simple terms. Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) might seem like magic, but they’re built on a foundation of innovative web technologies. Let’s dive into the core components that make PWAs so powerful:

  • Service Workers:
    • What are they? Think of service workers as the unsung heroes working behind the scenes. They’re JavaScript scripts that run in the background, separate from your web page.
    • Role & Significance: Service workers are the backbone of PWAs, enabling features like offline support, background syncing, and content caching. They intercept network requests, decide how to respond, and can serve cached content when offline. In essence, they’re the bridge between the web application and the browser.
  • Web App Manifest:
    • The Lowdown: This is a simple JSON file that provides information about the web application, like its name, icons, and display properties.
    • Why It Matters: The manifest ensures PWAs feel like native apps. It allows users to add the PWA to their home screen, launch in full-screen mode, and even customize the splash screen. It’s all about that seamless user experience!
  • Cache API:
    • The Basics: This is a system that allows you to store and retrieve network requests, like HTML files, images, and stylesheets.
    • The Big Deal: With Cache API, PWAs can work offline or on low-quality networks. It ensures that users get a consistent experience by serving them cached content when there’s no internet connection. No more annoying “You’re offline” messages!
  • Push Notifications:
    • What’s That?: These are messages that pop up on a user’s device, even when the app isn’t open.
    • The Impact: Push notifications are a game-changer for user engagement. They allow businesses to send timely updates, reminders, or offers, ensuring users stay connected and informed. It’s like having a direct line to your users’ attention!
  • Fetch API:
    • In Simple Terms, It’s a modern way to make network requests, like grabbing data from a server.
    • Its Role in PWAs: Fetch API, combined with service workers, ensures that network requests are handled efficiently. It allows PWAs to load fresh data, sync in the background, and provide a smooth user experience, even in uncertain network conditions.

Alright, now that we’ve got a grip on the technical components, let’s see them in action. In the next section, we’ll dive into some real-world examples of PWAs that have taken the digital world by storm.

Examples of Successful PWA Apps

Ever wondered who’s leading the PWA parade?  Let’s take a look at some big names that have embraced the magic of Progressive Web Apps and are reaping the rewards:

  • Twitter Lite:
Twitter Lite Logo
  • The Scoop: Twitter’s leaner, meaner version designed for the mobile web.
  • The Wow Factor: Not only does it offer a snappy user experience, but it’s also kind to your data. With reduced data consumption, it’s perfect for those on limited data plans or in areas with spotty network coverage. Plus, it feels just like the native app. Talk about a win-win!
  • Pinterest:
 Pinterest Logo
  • The Lowdown: The beloved platform for all things inspiration and DIY.
  • Why It’s Awesome: Since launching its PWA, Pinterest saw a significant boost in user engagement. We’re talking faster load times and an overall smoother browsing experience. Users can now pin, search, and browse with ease, making the platform even more addictive (as if we needed another reason to spend hours on it!).
  • Starbucks:
  • The Basics: Yes, the coffee giant has a PWA for its ordering system.
  • The Perks: Imagine ordering your favorite latte even when you’re offline. The Starbucks PWA offers just that – offline ordering capabilities paired with a buttery smooth user interface. It’s like having a barista in your pocket!
  • Forbes:
Forbes Logo
  • The Rundown: The renowned business publication revamped its mobile experience with a PWA.
  • The Highlights: Forbes now boasts lightning-fast loading times, making it a breeze to catch up on the latest news. The user-friendly reading experience, with sleek visuals and intuitive navigation, ensures readers stay engaged and informed.
  • Spotify Web Player:
  • What’s the Deal?: The popular music streaming service offers a PWA version for web users.
  • The Encore: Seamless music streaming, even when you’re offline. Whether you’re curating the perfect playlist or discovering new tunes, the Spotify Web Player ensures uninterrupted jams, no matter your connection.

Impressed yet? These big players show just how transformative PWAs can be. But how do you get started on creating your own? Buckle up because, in the next section, we’ll dive into the step-by-step process of developing a PWA.

How Does a PWA Work?

How Does a PWA Work?

Ever watched a magician and thought, “How did they do that?”. PWAs might seem like magic, but there’s some serious tech wizardry going on behind the scenes. Let’s pull back the curtain and see how the magic happens:

  • Single-Page Websites:
    • The Gist: Unlike traditional websites that reload every time you click a link, single-page websites load once and dynamically update as you interact. It’s like reading a book where turning the page doesn’t require you to open a new book.
    • Why It Matters: This approach ensures a faster, smoother user experience. No more waiting for pages to load; everything happens in a snap!
  • Web App Manifest:
    • A Quick Refresher: As we touched on earlier, this is a JSON file that gives browsers information about your web app.
    • The Big Deal: With the Web App Manifest, your PWA can be added to a user’s home screen, launch in full-screen mode, and even customize its appearance. It’s all about giving that native app feel without the app store hassle.
  • Service Workers:
    • Behind the Scenes: These are the backstage crew of the PWA world. Operating in the background, they handle tasks like caching, notifications, and offline functionality.
    • The Impact: Service workers are the heart and soul of PWAs. They ensure that your app works offline, updates in real-time, and delivers a consistent experience.
  • Browser Compatibility & User Experience:
    • The Lowdown: Not all browsers were created equal, but PWAs aim to bridge that gap.
    • The Highlights: PWAs are designed to be compatible across various browsers, be it Chrome, Firefox, or Safari. This means users get a consistent experience, no matter their browser choice. With features like offline access and push notifications, PWAs elevate the user experience to a whole new level, rivaling and often surpassing native apps.

Features and Advantages of PWAs

Alright, let’s get to the juicy part! Why are PWAs creating such a buzz? What makes them stand out in the crowded app market? Let’s break down the features and advantages that have everyone raving about PWAs:

  • Speed and Performance Benefits:
    • Zoom, Zoom!: PWAs are built for speed. Thanks to efficient caching, they can load content faster than traditional websites or apps. No more drumming your fingers and waiting for things to load!
    • Why It’s a Game-Changer: In the digital age, every second counts. A faster app means happier users and can lead to increased conversions and engagement.
  • Storage Efficiency & Cross-Platform Compatibility:
    • Travel Light: PWAs take up less space on devices compared to native apps. They’re the minimalist’s dream!
    • Play Well with Others: Whether you’re Team Android or Team iOS, PWAs have got you covered. They work seamlessly across different devices and platforms.
  • Real-Time Updates & SEO Benefits:
    • Stay Fresh: PWAs update in real-time. This means users always access the latest version without manual updates.
    • Shine Bright in Search: With PWAs being web-based, they’re indexed by search engines. This gives them an SEO edge, helping businesses reach a wider audience.
  • Offline Functionality & Ease of Access:
    • Always On: One of the standout features of PWAs is their ability to function offline. Whether you’re in a tunnel or on a mountain, PWAs ensure you stay connected.
    • At Your Fingertips: PWAs can be added to the home screen, giving users instant access without the need to go through app stores.

Impact of PWAs on E-commerce Platforms

Ever wondered why the e-commerce bigwigs are all abuzz about PWAs? Let’s unravel the transformative impact PWAs are having on online shopping platforms:

  • Performance Enhancements & User Experience Improvements:
    • Shop at Lightning Speed: With PWAs, slow-loading product pages are a thing of the past. Shoppers can swiftly browse, add to cart, and checkout in a flash.
    • Smooth Sailing: Say goodbye to janky scrolls and unresponsive buttons. PWAs offer a buttery-smooth user experience, making online shopping a sheer delight.
  • Accessibility Features & Their Significance:
    • Shop Anytime, Anywhere: Whether you’re on a subway or on a mountain retreat, PWAs ensure your favorite e-commerce platform is accessible, even offline.
    • Inclusivity Matters: PWAs come equipped with features that cater to all users, including those with disabilities. This means screen readers, high contrast modes, and more, ensuring everyone can shop with ease.
  • Discoverability & User Engagement Metrics:
    • Shine Bright on Search: Thanks to their web nature, PWAs get indexed by search engines. This boosts discoverability, driving more organic traffic to e-commerce platforms.
    • Keep ‘Em Hooked: With features like push notifications, PWAs can re-engage users with personalized offers, product restock alerts, and more. It’s all about keeping the shopper engaged and coming back for more.
  • Conversion Rates & User Retention:
    • Turning Browsers into Buyers: PWAs reduce friction in the shopping process. Faster load times, intuitive interfaces, and offline capabilities mean higher conversion rates.
    • Loyal Shoppers: With an enhanced shopping experience, users are more likely to return. PWAs play a pivotal role in improving user retention, ensuring shoppers stay loyal to the platform.

Seeing the big picture? PWAs are not just a tech trend; they’re reshaping the e-commerce landscape. But how do businesses jump on this bandwagon? Stay tuned as we dive into the step-by-step guide to developing your very own PWA.

Why Should Businesses Implement PWA?

Ever heard the saying, “Adapt or perish?”  In today’s pace, this couldn’t be truer. Let’s dive into why businesses are flocking to embrace PWAs:

  • The Changing Landscape of Mobile Web Engagement:
    • A Digital Evolution: Remember when the mobile web was just a scaled-down version of desktop sites? Those days are long gone. Today, mobile web engagement is about offering tailored experiences optimized for smaller screens and on-the-go users.
    • User Expectations: Modern users demand speed, convenience, and a seamless experience. They won’t stick around for slow-loading sites or cumbersome navigation. It’s all about instant gratification!
  • The Reach of Mobile Web & Challenges with Traditional Apps:
    • Mobile Domination: With over half of global web traffic coming from mobile devices, it’s clear where the audience is. Businesses can’t afford to ignore this massive user base.
    • App Store Hurdles: Traditional apps come with challenges – the competition in app stores is fierce, user acquisition costs are high, and then there’s the whole ordeal of regular updates and patches. Not to mention the storage space they hog on devices!
  • PWAs as the Solution to These Challenges:
    • Best of Both Worlds: PWAs combine the best features of web and native apps. They offer the discoverability of the web and the performance of native apps.
    • Cost-Effective & Efficient: No need for separate versions for iOS and Android. One PWA works seamlessly across platforms, saving businesses time and money.
    • Engage & Retain: With features like offline access, push notifications, and home screen icons, PWAs ensure businesses stay connected with their users, fostering loyalty and driving engagement.

Are you convinced of the PWA’s prowess? As the digital tide shifts, PWAs emerge as the beacon for businesses navigating the mobile web waters. Up next, we’ll delve into the nuts and bolts of how to get started with your PWA journey.


Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) in the near future is more than just an online presence; it’s about delivering seamless experiences, bridging the gap between web and native apps, and steadily evolving to meet the needs of users, thanks to their numerous benefits such as offline capabilities and cross-platform compatibility. 

For businesses, PWAs promise a cost-effective, efficient, and user-centric solution, which is key to unlocking enhanced customer mobile app development. Staying ahead of the curve in this competitive business arena is paramount, and the adoption of PWAs is a step towards pioneering, innovating, and setting the gold standard for user experiences. 

As Wayne Gretzky once said, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” So why wait? Dive into the world of PWAs, and let’s shape the future of mobile web engagement together, keeping innovation at the forefront. 🚀

Still, feeling heavy to build an app for your business? There is a solution, you can rely on an experienced PWA development company to build your Progressive web app. 

PWA Development - Nintriva CTA

Related blogs