As a developer, by my nature, I'm really eager for code reuse and for different kind of universal approaches.
When I first heard about Progressive Web Applications I exclaimed: "This is it! That's how application development should look like". Truly cross-platform development, one solution for every platform, from mobile to desktop. Fast, offline, responsive, installable and many more.
Then I decided to build my very first PWA! In this post, I want to share all my findings which accumulate my experience with Progressive Web Applications. Let's the story begin.
I want to start from the definition of what is actually Progressive Web Applications. First of all, PWA is not a programming language and not a framework; it's a set of web standards. For better understanding what it is, read the PWA characteristics below:
Discoverable — since PWA just a website, you can discover it on the web using search engines like Google and Bing.
Installable — thanks to Web App Manifest for this, you can install a regular website for offline use and pin it's icon to desktop.
Re-engageable — even when the PWA is not open you can still receive push notifications, thanks to service workers.
Network Independent — the PWA can work offline and on a slow network. This is achieved using service workers, which can cache static assets as well as API calls.
Progressive — work for every user, regardless of browser choice because they're built with progressive enhancement as a core tenet. It means if the browser missing some features, try to substitute them with something else.
Safe — data delivered over HTTPS protocol, which is a secure channel. It means that you need an SSL certificate for your app, but this is not a problem nowadays. You can get a free certificate with such services as Let's Encrypt.
Responsive — thanks to CSS media queries, it's not difficult to create responsive UI, which will look good on different screen sizes from desktop to phones.
Linkable — again, since PWA is a website, you can share it with your friends using URL.
Basically, in a few words, you can transform your website and use as "native" mobile/desktop application with all advantages like offline work, push notifications, standalone mode, etc.