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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2396

Progressive Web Apps –PWA’s: the next big leap in app development

Hemantha Abeywardena writes from London…

The progress in technological development has not always been linear; sometimes, there have been significant leaps in the process that brought about watershed moments at unexpected times. The introduction of iPhone by Steve Jobs in 2007 is a case in point.

Even a giant like Mr Jobs, perhaps, never thought that his App Store, first of its kind at that time, would bring about an irreversible change in technological realm while changing its landscape beyond recognition.

As more and more players made inroads into the domain of smartphones, app stores simultaneously multiplied in proportion, while triggering off more challenges to the applications developers as well as those who control app stores while maintaining order, company policies and of course , revenue paths.

In these circumstances, caught up in the stampede to be the greatest, some of the core issues that affected the user experience were often overlooked by the major technological giants: for instance, the way some of the apps worked in the absence of internet connection or when the connectivity was poor, was one such issue; in addition, some of the apps, known as native apps as they are made for a particular operating system such as Apple iOS or Google’s Android, take up significant space, when the available space in smartphones is very limited.

Then, there were challenges to app developers too: the need of learning programming languages for different operating systems – Swift for Apple apps and Java for Android apps, for example; moreover, the developers have to abide by sets of strict rules of each app store, sometimes even making an annual payment for the ‘privilege’.

Fortunately, there are promising signs that the era is slowly, but surely, coming to an end. The advent of progressive web apps – PWA’s – is going to change the scene completely, while bringing about a major watershed moment.

Major technological companies have already recognized the potential of PWA’S. Alibaba.com, FlipKart, Twitter and Washington Post are some of the companies, which have experienced the advantages of turning their apps into PWA’s; the list is growing exponentially.

Since PWA’s can address the issue of network connectivity satisfactorily – when there is no internet connection or connection is very poor – there is a strong possibility of user turning to PWA’s for many obvious reasons: to keep the cost of data to a minimum while using PWA’s as if there was internet connection, even if they are offline.

PWA’s are web applications that do not reside in the smartphones of the users; a user just needs a shortcut on their smartphones or tablets, a click on which takes them to the application on the internet. Since there is no need of downloading, the users do not have to worry about the available memory on their smartphones.

PWA’s are apps that came about as a result of a catalogue of urgent user needs, ranging from the ability to use apps offline to saving the memory of smartphones. In this context, their progress is going to be both irreversible and exponential in the near future – even if the changes in smartphones are becoming just evolutionary.

- Asian Tribune -

Progressive Web Apps –PWA’s: the next big leap in app development
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