PWAs are presented by Google as “Websites that took all the right vitamins” or supercharged websites that have certain advantages.
Just like a website (since the PWA is a website), you only need to update the server to deploy the PWA. In addition, PWAs can be added to the PlayStore in beta version (and therefore visible and findable via a search).
Like a standard website, there is no need to download the entire app. It can also be added on the home (even if the manipulation is not as easy as for a native application) to be accessible as a native application. Finally, it can be viewed offline.
As PWAs are websites, they therefore benefit from the same possibilities of referencing on search engines (and it seems that Google would even highlight PWA sites).
The application tends to resemble a native application as much as possible: icon on the home, design, features, etc.
Access to the functionalities of the device remains limited to a subset. For example, features are not available, such as:
Progressive web applications (PWAs) are generally usable on most modern browsers, but older versions not. In addition, the features available are not the same from one browser to another: the features will be broader on Chrome, for example (the technology being carried by Google).
When developing a native application, the guidelines given are precise and frame the interface for optimized mobile reading. The web has a wider and less framed field of possibilities, which generates possible errors for PWAs, such as ergonomics not always adapted to mobile (buttons too small, different look depending on the phone, etc.).
On the Apple side, it will, therefore, be impossible to have your PWA listed in the App Store. Indeed, the Apple brand has a very strict policy: PWAs are not applications but websites, therefore have nothing to do on the App Store.
PWAs promise a unique and faster development than for mobile applications based on web technologies. On paper, the promise seems attractive, but in practice, the heterogeneity of Android web browsers multiplies the differences from one version to another, just like native applications. Web technologies are also very permissive and not always easy to stabilize.
In addition, one of the strong points of PWAs is the speed of deployment, the download as you use it, as well as the ease of reference. These three points allow a strong acquisition. However, mobile applications are not left out since they now offer similar features.
Although they tend to look like native applications, PWAs still suffer from a limited and very web-oriented user experience (scroll, click-effect). “Push” functions (such as Bluetooth, Geofencing, integration with Google Fit / Apple Health, etc.) are still not accessible today for PWAs, especially on iOS.
A bit complicated to say that you should favour native apps or PWAs because they simply meet a different need and can even be complementary. In fact, some applications build bridges between the PWA and the native application.
The choice between PWA and native application depends mainly on expected and future functionalities. The PWA is not intended to replace the native application but will come in addition to it.
In fact, the use of a native application will be recommended if your application requires:
We hope that you now see a little more clearly about the possibilities of Progressive Web Apps. If you have an application project and want more information about the technologies and possibilities, contact us!