Pros & Cons of Progressive Web Apps

With personal computing steadily become more mobile than desktop, a wide variety of innovations to
enhance the mobile experience are being implemented. One of these is progressive web apps (PWAs),
to marry the advantages of native web apps with the versatility of websites.

As you might imagine, there are advantages and disadvantages to this approach, so let’s take a look at
the pros and cons of progressive web apps.

No Installation Required
Hunting down mobile apps and installing them can be a pain in the asterisk. Even when a site leads you
directly to its mobile application, you have to take the time to download it. Further, because it now
resides on your device, the native app is consuming precious memory.

Oh, and one more thing, because of OS differences, you must get the version of the native application
designed for your device. Meanwhile PWAs require no installation and match your website theme to

support your branding.

Fewer Speed Issues
Progressive web apps give faster access to data than their native app counterparts. Additionally, they’re
connectivity independent, thanks to dynamic caching. Instant load times and optimized images are
another key advantage of going progressive.

Reduced Data Requirements
PWAs require less data to operate than a traditional website, so they function smoothly on networks.
Given the preponderance of emerging web users in areas with older web networks, this can be a
significant advantage to an ecommerce site anxious to provide a pleasant user experience regardless
of a shopper’s location.

App Experience Without App Limitations
A progressive web app provides the functionalities of a native app (such as push notifications and
updates), along with the added flexibility of a website. Further, a progressive web app has a URL, which
means it can be crawled by Google just like a website. Thus, a PWA also brings SEO benefits—
particularly since they can be honed for search engine optimization too.

Reduced Expense
If you’re considering developing a native app for your ecommerce business, you’ll probably need to
create two. You’ll need one for iOS and a different one for Android. Yes, it is possible to build one
capable of running on either platform, but those are quite costly to produce as well. Meanwhile.
PWAs don’t care where they run.

On the other hand, we do need to recognize the following drawbacks.

No App Store Presence
While your users won’t have to go hunting through an app store to find your PWA, they won’t run across
it casually either. It won’t be there.

Added Power Requirements
Because PWAs are written in high-level web codes, your device’s processor works harder to interpret
it. This means a PWA will consume your battery more rapidly than a native app.

Minimal Device Integration
A native app can gain access to practically all of the features of a user’s mobile device. PWAs do not
afford all users this luxury. As of this writing (depending upon the browser you use), features PWAs
can’t tap into include Bluetooth, proximity sensors, ambient light, advanced camera controls, geofencing,
wake lock and contacts. Some users may find these limitations off-putting.

Selective Browser Compatibility
PWAs and Safari don’t get along so well, ditto Internet Explorer and Edge. Then again, these are legacy
browsers and most advanced internet users moved on from them long ago. Meanwhile, PWAs run
happily on the latest versions of Opera, Chrome, and Firefox.

Bottom line, whether the pros and cons of progressive web apps matter to your business will depend
upon the nature of your customer base. If you’re after the best bang for your buck, PWAs will provide
ready access and an engaging mobile experience for the vast majority of mobile users. However, that
more broadly engaging experience does come with some hardware and operating system limitations.


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