Understanding Progressive Web Apps

Progressive Web Apps combine the best of the web and the best of apps. They load quickly, even on flaky networks, can re-engage with users by sending web push notifications, have an icon on the home screen, and load as top-level, full screen experiences.

In this video, Sam Dutton explains the what, why, and how of Progressive Web Apps, and works through code examples.

Sam delivers a high-level overview but also some of the business reasons why it makes sense to build progressive web apps.

In a word the web is BIG, there are like now over 5 billion devices out there that can access web content and that’s incredible! I think you know you get this instant broad reach with the web and this didn’t happen you know because of luck, yeah the the web is this open decentralized platform where there are no gatekeepers.

Web sites get massive reach and users get low-friction which is great and I think you know mobile computing is at the heart of this revolution. There’s been this explosion of computing on mobile and you know we now use more mobile devices and than desktop computers and so on and this is a really interesting challenge for developers.

We’ve also reached this point now where in in some regions where a lot of users coming online are actually mobile only…they never use a desktop or a laptop device and again so this is a really interesting challenge for the web. Of course, on mobile most users spend most of their time in native apps yeah rather than the web and apps seem to be more predictable and they have great re-engagement features.

There is a flip side to this though and I’m sure you understand this particularly app developers in the audience here you know app usage is highly concentrated, users tend to only use a few apps and they see native apps as a big commitment to device space and time.

Native apps are engaging but only a few are worth installing now. Based on a recent study the average user is installing like zero apps per month and while this certainly does not mean that users are not using native apps but you know by contrast from our own data something like the average mobile user visits like around a hundred sites per month and this is the power of URLs and the ephemerality of the web.

One way to think of the difference between native and web apps is on the capability access native apps, they start up quickly and reliably when you tap that icon and they tend to work offline so when do you ever open a web browser when you’re offline?

Native apps can use push notifications, sync in the background and so on and they’ve had access for some time to device senses like microphones and cameras etc. By contrast the web has been seen to be safer, more respectful of privacy…maybe, but it hasn’t had those capabilities and what if we could add those capabilities that the web could get that engagement and meet those UX expectations so we can have the best of both worlds and this is what progressive Web Apps represents.

A user experience that’s good enough, integrated enough so it can actually earn a place on the home screen and the notification tray without having to give up that reach to get that and this is really the core point of progressive web apps.

Watch the video above for the complete presentation.

Watch more Mobile Web and Chrome talks at GDD Europe ’17 here: https://goo.gl/VBSiFb


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