Indrivo Tech Lead
App Development
Web Apps

Progressive Web Apps Are The Future Of Mobile Web. Are they right for you?

Much has been written about Progressive Web Applications (PWA) in the technical news media and on social platforms in recent years. The mentions were most often presented in extremely positive terms, such as "websites of the future" and "death of native apps".

In this article, we will delve into what a PWA is, what the pros and cons are, and help you decide whether you should consider developing a PWA or not.


What exactly is a PWA?

A PWA can be described as a web application, a common website that offers extensive functionality through modern web features such as push notifications, offline support, and exceptional performance. So, it is a pure web technology, offering the feeling of being a real smartphone app.

Google is one of the main supporters behind the PWA technology. They describe it as a web page that offers a "reliable", "fast" and "attractive" user experience.

Reliability: A web app is reliable and accessible independently of the network and internet connection. The user can access the application through a shortcut icon on the home screen of the phone. This is in many ways quite revolutionary, as a website is usually associated with something that the user can only access by actively navigating to the website through the address bar and where the page's session or lifetime only exists while the browser is open. The web app is accessed from an icon on the phone's home screen and it lives on after closing the window.

Speed: Speed ​​refers primarily to the loading of the front page and the subsequent navigation between the subpages. Parameters such as "first meaningful paint" (the time it takes for a page's primary content to appear on the screen), "speed index" (a page load performance metric that shows how quickly the contents of a page are visibly populated) and "time to interactive" (the time a page takes before the user can interact with it – how long before it responds to a click) are all extremely critical for web apps. All these are directly related to visitor retention, user experience and conversions.

Engagement: An engaging web app invites visitors to an immersive user journey, by adjusting settings such as screen orientation, full-screen display, theme colors, splash screen and more. It allows to send push notifications and gives the visitors several different possibilities to go to previous pages, resume the previous journey, or direct their attention towards something new.


Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, Spotify and Telegram are just some examples of large companies that use PWA technology. Their users have the opportunity to use the application, without downloading the apps, and without having to enter a URL into the browser.


What are the benefits of a PWA?

Whether a PWA is a right choice for your project, depends on the project's specifications and the needs of your business. A PWA may be relevant to you if you already have a classic web page with a responsive mobile design that doesn't need native features, such as push notifications or be visible in the app store, etc.

The list of pros and cons is numerous, but we have tried to choose the most notable points below:

Converting from a web page to PWA is technically a relatively modest task. This means that you can further develop the existing solution and reuse the code base that has already been written.


Compatibility across multiple devices is one of the best incentives for developing a PWA. The browser can run on a wide range of devices, the web application can be deployed on almost all kind of devices.


The price of a PWA is significantly lower than for a similar native app, the same is available for maintenance, delivery and further development.

When developing a PWA, the ecosystem and the possibilities of technology choices are diverse. Many of the packages found in the open-source environment can be used free of charge.

Some disadvantages of PWAs ...

While the benefits of developing a PWA are appealing, there are also some disadvantages that you need to consider before you start developing a PWA.

Most of the disadvantages associated with a PWA are the limitations that already exist in the Safari browser. According to Apple's App Store policy, they state that every browser on iOS must use Safari's "Rendering Engine", which means that all iOS browsers will be subject to the restrictions that this engine has. Unfortunately, this has a major impact on the features available on the iOS platform. By comparison, Android supports countless functionalities, so cons are currently only applicable for the iOS platform. Some of the most important restrictions are:

  • The installation of a PWA on iOS so that the app can be accessed from the phone's home screen is hidden behind several clicks and is only possible from the Safari browser. There is also no possibility to present an icon indicating that the website can be installed. This is quite a limitation, as most visitors are not aware of the installation procedure, nor are they familiar with the concept that a website can function as an "app".
  • The App Store does not support PWA as a technology stack. In other words, it's not possible to publish a PWA to the App Store, which in many ways hinders the app's visibility. BUT there are options to make it visible in the App Store if you add a layer called Capacitor.
  • Push notifications are not supported by the Safari browser.
  • Built-in features such as Bluetooth API, Vibration API, Badging API. The list of which features are supported on which operating systems and devices is very variable. Project Fugu, Google’s initiative to unlock all native device features for the Web, Microsoft, Intel, Samsung, and more, is an interdisciplinary project that has been launched to expand the types of functionalities supported by the browser. 
  • The list of APIs that have been implemented can be seen here!


Do you need a PWA?

Basically, a PWA is especially worth considering if your main product is a website.

Instead of comparing a PWA with a conventional app, we think it makes more sense to think of a PWA as a website with an extensive set of features and performance. The expectations of today's users are very high and are extremely critical in terms of user experience and obstacles in the installation process. A classic native app always forces the user through the distribution platform (App Store or Play Store), which in many cases prevents a certain percentage of the customer segment from finding the app at all.

A PWA is significantly easier to distribute as an URL, it is enough to provide proof of what your product can offer, without forcing potential customers through any installation process or other intermediaries.

Therefore, we would recommend a PWA if you are at the crossroads where you seek visibility and accessibility through your website, but at the same time want to offer visitors a more “app-like” experience on mobile devices.

A PWA has the advantage of being able to run on many types of devices, in widely different formats and without a prior installation process. In addition, a PWA can also be installed as a desktop app, so that it can be searched through the Start menu of your operating system.

If, on the other hand, you are primarily interested in exposing your app through the app store, sending push notifications or looking for better performance, a hybrid solution may be a better alternative.

Are you thinking of creating a Progressive Web App? Book a free consultation with our experts. Together we can design a system that works for your business.

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