|Podcast| The most engaging app… is free

To start the new year, Cocolabs is bringing you a new mini-podcast with Fabien Morchoisne, one of our Lead Developers and Engineers. He will explain to you what progressive web apps are, and how they can improve your online presence. The goal of our podcasts is to explore interesting topics in the service marketplace field, as well as to highlight the challenges of this sector in less than five minutes.

 

 

The challenges of mobile apps

Prior to delving into this subject, it is important to note the effectiveness of mobile apps when it comes to market penetration. Mobile apps give your business the opportunity to be more connected with your consumers. Despite the benefits mobile apps offer, they are expensive to create, and it takes a lot of time to optimize them for all types of phones. One solution for this is to create a simple website instead that is optimized for mobile use. The only problem here is that it would just be one website out of millions, and it would not give users the same experience that a mobile app would. Therefore, the perfect balance would be to have an existing responsive website, but with all the qualities of a mobile app. This is what Progressive Web Apps provide!

 

What is a Progressive Web App?

First introduced by Steve Jobs during the reveal of the first iPhone, and later popularized by Google in 2015, web apps are the key to your online presence. To put it simply, they are a hybrid between a website and a mobile app. In order to have a Progressive Web App, you still must create a good website primarily using Javascript, and keeping responsiveness and mobile optimisation in mind. To put it more clearly, listed below are some guidelines that you need to follow in order to create a website that is eligible for Progressive Web Apps or PWA for short.

  1. You need to use HTML and Javascript in order to create a website first, ensuring that it is mobile friendly! This is the most important step of the creation.
  2. Create an application shell, which will be the first thing the user will see when opening the app.
  3. Register a service worker, in order to be able to propose different native application features.
  4. Create an app manifest, basically a description of what your PWA provides (icons, colors etc.)
  5. Finally, enable the install prompt, for the user to have it on their home screen.

What are the advantages of PWA ? 

1) PWAs can be used on all devices, so you won’t need to optimize a different one for each type of phone! They are also available on the internet through search engines, and they are even available on some app stores with a bit of processing. For example, if you want your PWA to be a part of the Google Store, you will have to use a conversion tool called “Trusted Web Activity”, to ensure that the playstore is user protected. With just a few clicks your PWA will be available in the playstore! If you want your PWA to be available on the Apple Store you will have to use a different tool and pay a tax. Both of these procedures are worth it however because we all know that app stores are where the users are. 

2) PWAs are faster and smoother, the content is loading very quickly which results in a better user experience, and increases the time that consumers are spending on your website. 

3) You are able to download them from everywhere, including the website. it is also possible to enable all of the features of a native app like push-notifications, updates, offline browsing, and more. 

The user experience will be similar to a normal app!

What is the future for PWAs?

Just as Steve Jobs planned, Progressive Web App are being massively adopted. PWAs are a key point for online businesses, often negating the need for a native app all together. This is because browsers are becoming more feature-packed which results in a deeper integration for our devices. 

This is why you should look closer into this subject yourself! One last tip from Fabien: The PWA Book, is a guide that will explain all you need to know about PWAs. 

Cocolabs’ crew, especially Fabien, remains at your disposal and will be delighted to answer any of your questions!