In the past ‘Native Apps’ (installed applications) were miles ahead in terms of features, capability and ease of use than web based applications however now with the arrival of our shiny new PWA’s (Progressive Web Apps) all that has changed !
What pushed native applications to the top of the pile was in short, their ability to do more. They were always built bespoke to fit any device or requirements piece by piece, so from android to apple, Linux to windows they would run effortlessly on the hardware that you had. This means native apps had the edge by being able to utilise the users hardware for things like GPS location and telemetric data.
These are distinct features that people learned to love, they made our lives easier by integrating into our phones, tablets and computers. This is when developers started to notice an amazing new trick to grab the users attention, push-notifications. Being able to capture the users intent when they’re not using your app yields a big reward for continuous engagement.
We can use these notifications to market, sell, remind or encourage the user to interact with the app which can help cultivate a positive relationship that can generate leads and engage in dialogue with a little hands off interaction. This makes it easier to monetize anything so anyone can make an app that generates passive income. The surprising thing is that push notifications can increase user engagement by at the very least 88% !
The biggest drawback with native applications is that they consume a lot of space and resources from your device which inevitable leads to bloat. The other problem with native apps is that every time a software fix or feature is added they consume more space and resources. The biggest fight we have with native is that you only have so much space leading to more and more competition between developers to stay on your device. This is the biggest challenge with native it has lead to massive marketing from the software giants meaning the little guys have a very small chance of making it big.
Between resource usage and space they will slowly kill your device performance making them almost antiquated in their approach unless your app is very basic it will take a toll on the users device making developers favour hybrid applications (half native half web) or the slicker option PWA’s.
Native has its limitations developers have to create a new version between devices leading to long development times and more expensive checklists to launch an application.
This was the drawback developers accepted for the amazing buy in push notifications provide it was a love hate relationship.
WEB APPLICATIONS, OUR BOLD FUTURE
Web apps were amazing at running with little resources and minimal storage space but with a few caveats, the major one being: they don’t work without stable internet. As well as this big flaw they cant access the users hardware so location services and push notifications were a no go which lead to them becoming less favourable for content rich applications.
As well as the flaws mentioned above any savvy phone user has definitely installed an ad blocker which puts any chance of app monetisation out the window completely.
With these drawbacks they still had a lot of pros. Stored on a web server they didn’t require any resources to run and were always available meaning they could be used anywhere on any device which is pretty nifty.
However native apps were always a clear front runner in the race.
This lead the paradigm shift to create something…..new, the best of both worlds.
A NEW CHALLENGER ARRIVES, PWA’s
The meteoric rise of responsive web development has cleared the way for a new and slicker technology to lead the way, Progressive Web Apps.
The beauty of bootstrap and responsive websites is that they can fit to any device size with very minimal reworking meaning you design once and it works for all, unlike the native apps of old.
This means they have clear advantages such as:
- Can work with or without an internet connection
- Stored on a server so no storage space is needed to run
- An icon is added to the users device just like an app
- You can use push notifications like a native application
- Responds and looks like a native app without the limitations
- Can use the hardware on the device such as GPS
- Can update across all devices instantly
- Uses secure https meaning data is encrypted end to end
- SEO is available to can increase your ranking on google
- Can be shared with a URL
This means progressive web apps are the future and they are here to stay. They combine the best of both worlds of the app development sphere, online and offline married as one. They are an all rounder using push notifications to capture user attention and using very little space and resources they are the next step in the application revolution.
WANT TO BE AHEAD OF THE GAME ?
PWA’s can really push your business to the next level, google is now tweaking its algorithm to favour PWA’s over traditional websites as they use a mobile first process, since most web traffic is now on a mobile device most businesses will be looking to PWA’s in their future business plans.
Want to learn how pursuit can give your business the edge with a progressive web app ? Find out more here