Ok folks, it’s an age old question. “If it looks like a native mobile app, functions like a native mobile app, and drops an icon on your mobile device like a native mobile app, it’s a native mobile app, right?” Well, maybe not. Progressive Web Apps look like native apps, function like native apps, and even drop icons on your mobile device like a native app, BUT you can access and use a PWA WITHOUT HAVING TO DOWNLOAD OR INSTALL it like a native app. Interested yet?
One of the biggest complaints I hear when sharing apps with folks is “I just don’t have room for it. What they are really saying is probably that they will not use it enough to justify losing the space on their device.
Google recently introduced a service called “Instant Apps” where certain apps allow you to basically try it BEFORE you download it and install it. Progressive Web Apps function along that same line, except you NEVER have to download and install to use the fully functioning app. How does that work you ask? Simple.
Native mobile apps have to be built for each specific mobile device platform. Meaning one for iOS users and one for Android users. All of the content is coded into the app file, then uploaded to Google or Apple to be processed, reviewed and packaged for access in their app store. Then once you install it on your device, every time you open it, it checks a manifest that it already downloaded to see if there are any content changes on the host server. If so, it goes out, grabs the new content and serves it up to you. If you have changed logos or added new features, well, the app developer has to create new app files for Google and Apple, send the up for processing, reviewing, and hopefully distribution of the new files on their stores. And the apps ONLY WORK ON THE platform it was developed for.
Progressive Web Apps do the same things as native apps. They access native functions on your mobile device, AND they are 100% totally cross platform compatible. That’s right. One app, iOS, Android, Blackberry AND Windows phone compatible. But there’s more. The PWA can be accessed from DESKTOP and LAPTOP computers, Mac, Windows, and Linux!! Native apps can’t do that. Any and all changes or additions or new features you want to add? You add them once, and they automatically are incorporated in the existing PWA. And NO republishing to online app stores. And best of all, PWA’s operate on secure (SSL) servers, which Google loves!
Sound fun? If you are interested in learning more about Progressive Web Apps, join me Thursday December 7 at 11 AM CT for an hour long presentation and demonstration of PWAS. CLICK HERE for information on where to access the webinar.
Hope to see some of you there.