No matter what your business is, it is impossible today not to take into account the time that people spend in front of mobile devices each day. No wonder business owners also tend to become “mobile”.

Web application development is the next step your website should take towards betting on mobility.

Once you’ve established your mobile friendly website, do you also need to create a mobile app? How does it differ from a mobile version of the the website and what advantages can it offer to your business.

Progressive cross-platform web apps provide a native-like UX: they run within a browser but can be added to a phone’s home screen like a native app. They take full advantage of the capabilities of modern web browsers which become more and more powerful with each new release and have more access to the native APIs.

No installation is required, loading time is quite short and the app is accessible from an icon on the home screen.

What’s so good about cross-platform web apps?

Progressive web apps combine a native user experience with the advantages of the web apps:

  • Discoverability
    In fact, progressive web apps are the websites themselves, thus they are indexed by search engines.
  • Easy updating
    New content and updates of your progressive web app will be downloaded instantly when you launch it.
  • Security
    Since every network request will be processed by service workers, progressive web apps should be hosted over HTTPS to prevent security issues.
  • Offline work
    Unlike ordinary internet links, you will be able to launch a progressive web app from your smartphone even without internet connection.
  • User experience
     Cross-platform web apps offer a native-like experience and performance with minimal page refreshes. In addition, just like native apps, they can be added to the home screen.
  • Responsive design 
    A progressive web app will run smoothly on a smartphone, tablet and desktop as well.
  • Linkable
    Progressive web apps can be shared like any other link to a website.
Going for Progressive standards

Web technologies become more and more mature offering innumerable capabilities for development of complex web applications  which are in no way inferior to mobile apps.

For example, a modern web application like Google Docs by no aspects concedes to its desktop counterpart Microsoft Word, and this is just the beginning.

In 2015 Google introduced a new model for building web applications called Progressive Web Apps. It combines the best of web and mobile applications and takes advantage of the latest browser capabilities.

Hybrid web app

A progressive app can be described as a hybrid cross-platform web app between a web page and a mobile application. In its core they aren’t any different from ordinary web applications, they are made of HTML, CSS and Javascript and “live” in the browser but offer more capabilities and more access to the underlying operating system and hardware.

Another cool thing worth mentioning is that hybrid web apps can send push notifications, a privilege which only native apps could use until recently.

Here’s just a small subset of the capabilities already available in progressive cross-platform web app development:

  • access to hardware features such as webcam, microphone, bluetooth, battery status, accelerometer, gyroscope, compass and a whole bunch of sensors;
  • search engine indexing;
  • full-screen mode;
  • access to the file system;
  • ability to add an icon to the home screen;
  • clipboard access;
  • hardware-accelerated 3D graphics using WebGL;
  • can be easily shared via URL

The key idea behind hybrid web apps is that there’s no need to publish them to the app stores or install them on mobile devices. They are indexed by search engines and can be discovered on the web just like regular websites.

Huge demand can be easily  foreseed for PWAs in the near future.
Cross-platform web apps eliminate the need to download and install something onto your mobile device, which became a stumbling block during the proliferation of mobile applications.

Hybrid web applications can do the job for most use cases and can also be a much better investment .
There’s no need to develop and maintain three separate code bases for Android, iOS and Web. There’s no need to compete for attention in app stores.