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Welcome to the Future: Progressive Web Apps

“The Future is now!” How many times are we going to hear this line? Ever since the first iPhone was released and sequential releases after.

We welcome our readers to the first posts in our series, Welcome to the Future, where we talk latest and upcoming web technologies. You guess it! Our first subject is the expanding world of Progressive Web Apps. I am sure you’re asking, “What the heck is a Progressive Web App” and no its not a Republican becoming a Democrat.

Progressive Web Apps bring features we expect from native apps to the mobile browser experience in a way that uses standards-based technologies and run in a secure container accessible to anyone on the web. As a whole, Progressive Web Apps describe a collection of technologies, design concepts, and Web APIs that all work in tandem to provide an app-like experience from a mobile web browser. Let’s walk through some of the core tenets of Progressive Web Apps.

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1 Quarter Service Workers
A Service Worker is a Javascript that runs behind the scenes, independent of your app altogether, and runs in response to selected events for instance making network requests, push notifications, connectivity changes, and more.

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2 Pinches of App Shell
The App Shell model is a simple design concept where the initial loading of the mobile web app provides a basic shell for the app UI, and the content for the app is loaded after. the App Shell isn’t a Web API or a framework, but rather a design that developers can choose and is enhanced by the Service Workers caching abilities. You might find that it’s a pretty straightforward made more dramatic by our friend, the buzzword.

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Dash of App Installing

Historically, mobile web apps were not installed like an app to the homescreen. However, recently, Chrome on Android added support for installing web apps to the homescreen with a native install banner, just like the native app banners we’re used to. iOS doesn’t have any additional features here beyond Pin to Homescreen, so the experience won’t be as fluid, but here’s hoping Apple gives us some goodies this year.

What do you think? Will we start to see more and more Progressive Web Apps or are we sticking to the current system and getting our App addiction from the only two sources, the Google Play store or the App store?