Progressive web apps: The future of the web

Debate has raged for the past decade about whether mobile web will dominate or whether mobile apps will prevail. The answer is that they’re not mutually exclusive and many companies need both.

It’s a given that businesses need to create responsive websites and, in most cases, responsive web apps. Building mobile apps is another priority for most companies, although the use should be more focused on user personas or segments.

With this approach solidifying, progressive web apps (PWAs) are emerging that blur the lines between the web and apps. They use the latest browser technologies to meld the accessibility of the web with the presence of the mobile app.

Most of the leading desktop and mobile browsers have embraced the browser advancements initiated from Mozilla, Google, Facebook and others, to implement “service workers” that enable a website to behave like an app. Service workers are scripts that your browser invokes and runs in the background to enable app-like features as part of a PWA user experience.

Embedded within the browser to surface PWA functionality, service workers allows users to install the website as an app icon to their home screen and launch as a full screen app without having to go through an app store. The PWA lets users opt-in to enabling rich app features such as push notifications and offline storage.

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