Appeared in earlies 2000 the Web Apps market have become popular only these few lasts years. Even if you might not know, you have most probably already used one without being aware.
Web apps are software applications sitting halfway between Websites and native mobile apps. From user’s perspective a Web App is very close to a Website, however there is a real app running behind the scenes.
A Website is a collection of web documents (so called pages) linked together. When we access to a Website we get only one page of the site (in general this is the home page) and each time we navigate to another part of the site (like contact-us, for example) we are actually requesting to the server another page. So, each time we change the page we need to retrieve the page’s data from the server adding some response delay.
On a Web App the exchanges with the server are happening in a different way. When you are visiting a Web app, the server will send you the whole site (with all pages included) and once loaded, your can navigate from page to page without needing the server. The app code and the browser will take care to show you the page you are requesting
Single Page Applications (SPA)
This type of Web application is the first arrived in the marked in earlies 2000. Even do they were providing a big performance advantage as compared to Websites they introduced two big issues. On one side, the client had to wait the entire app to be downloaded before accessing it and most visitors were dropping the connexion before seeing any content. On the other side, the crawlers used in the search engines (like google for example) were not able to decode the content of the application so it was impossible to rank the application correctly for SEO
Progressive Web Applications (PWA)
Progressive Web Apps are the ones that we are seeing appear in these last years. They combine the advantages of Websites and Single Page Applications without any drawback from visitor’s point of view.
The PWA loading time happens in three main steps:
1.- Page preview
Hitting any address of any page of the Web App the server will send you a static version of the page (exactly same way the Websites work). This page preview overcomes the two main problems of SPAs as the first content is shown quickly and crawlers of search engines can find your content
2.- Application download in a background task
While you are somehow “entertained” looking at the page preview, the application is being downloaded in the background to your terminal (phone,tablet,computer…). The loading time will depend on the app complexity and the network quality but in general we are talking about several seconds
3.- Switch from page preview to app
Once the download is completed, the app takes over the control and switches the preliminary view to the app view and all this, without any graphic nor content changes on the visitor’s terminal. From this point you are using the app and, for example, if you switch from one page to another this will happen without any delay as you are not requiring the server anymore
There is already a long list of advantages of web applications as compared to Websites and most probably the list will increase in the future if web apps are getting more and more traction. We will present you some of the advantages that we think are important.
Once the app is loaded the visitor can switch pages instantly as server is not required anymore
App installation on mobiles
A Web App can be installed in a mobile phone like a native mobile application (only Android for now). In addition, there is no need to go to “Google Play Store” you can install the app directly from the website
Once the visitor has loaded the app, the network is much less required. This means that an offline mode can be created in the app providing a subset of the application features of course, but visitors can still visit your content even without internet connexion
Very fast on subsequent visits
When a visitor will come back to your Web app, the only data required to download from the server is the new content. This makes it work very fast even if the network quality is very low
When you are visiting Starbucks from your phone you will be directed to app.starbucks.com that is a progressive Web App. Starbucks was looking to improve the user experience and hit new costumers in poor connectivity areas. Starbucks was looking for a solution so that their customers could order from their phone even in bad network conditions.
When accessing to Twitter with your mobile phone, you will still access to their progressive Web app without knowing it. Twitter called this “Twitter Lite Platform” and April 2017 became the default for accessing Twitter, which means roughly 100M visits per day!
It’s true! this “website” is also a progressive web application. kubiiks SAS is a company specialised in creating progressive web applications. We have developed a platform that allows us to offer configurable progressive web applications at incredible rates. If you are interested visit our home page