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The Advantages And Limitations Of PWAs

In the first article we saw what defines PWAs, let's now look at the advantages and limitations of PWAs compared to their cousins, native applications.



A web application transformed into a PWA using the latest web technologies provides attractive advantages over native applications.

1. Avoid cumbersome blinds

When you develop a native application and want to distribute it publicly, hosting in a store is an inevitable step.

This step can be tedious for several reasons:

             Most stores have strict rules that are sometimes unwarranted and can change suddenly. An app approved in stores may be banned in the future due to new policies

             The validation and publication time is more or less long especially on the AppStore

             Depending on the stores, the accommodation offer may vary but nevertheless remains rather accessible

With PWAs we keep control of our application (source code) and its distribution.

To finish with the blinds, more and more people are suffering from the “app fatigue” syndrome. Applications are now omnipresent in our lives, the number of applications in stores is impressive, remember Apple's slogan: “There's an app for that”. They clutter up the storage memory and random access memory of our devices, they regularly send us unwanted notifications, and request authorizations that are too intrusive. Users are reluctant to install a new application with little added value that they will certainly use ephemeral.

The TechCrunch news site reports that more than 50% of US users download no apps per month.


2. Immediate use

PWAs prevent a high bounce rate by offering ultra-fast application usage. Indeed we just have to open the application via a web link, a QR code, and we can use it directly. The user can then, and if he wishes, add this application to the home screen of his smartphone to find it more easily.

For native applications the scenario is more complicated, you have to open the store, find the application, download it, install it, accept the permissions and finally use it.

Note that Android now allows applications to be tested without installing them via Instant App, but these are still not very widespread.


3. Cross-platform and cost reduction

One of the huge advantages of the web is that it can work on all platforms. “Write once, run everywhere”, PWAs are no exception to this rule, a single source code to be multiplatform. Development costs are therefore considerably reduced compared to traditional native development.

Noted that there is no application version disparity, updates are transparent to the end user.


4. Lightweight and visible

PWAs consume much less storage space than native apps. For comparison, the Tinder dating application weighs more than 30Mb on Android while it barely weighs 3Mb in PWA once installed.

As we have seen previously, PWAs can be referenced as simple classic websites, which allows them to have significant visibility and thus increase traffic to them.

Note: For a little over a year now, Google has authorized the publication of PWAs on the PlayStore using “Trusted Web Activity” in order to provide visibility other than on the web.

Some companies that have implemented a PWA have already generated many benefits:

             Starbucks has increased its rate of active users by half.

             Twitter increased its number of tweets by 75% compared to its native apps

             Uber's PWA weighs only 50k which allows it to charge in less than 3 seconds on 2G.


5. Independent Connectivity

Thanks to the cache management by the “Services Workers”, the PWA can operate in areas of poor connectivity or completely without a network. The launch of the application from the home screen can be instantaneous.



1. Platform disparity

Being a website, the PWA must be universal, independent of the OS (Android, Windows, iOS ...) of the terminal or the browser.

However, there are disparities in the implementation of APIs. It will therefore be essential to provide alternative solutions, or simply truncate certain functionalities depending on the support of the browsers / versions of the OS ...

As an example, iOS does not offer an installation banner to let users know that they can install the app on the desktop. You will therefore have to develop your own banner if you want a similar operation between iOS and Android.

Web push notifications are not available on iOS unlike Android. It will therefore be necessary to use other channels (mail, sms…) to notify users of the bitten apple.


2. Advanced features

The web is evolving at high speed, new powerful APIs appear regularly and are implemented in browsers. However and unlike native applications where we are not limited to accessing terminal peripherals (NFC, Bluetooth), but also specific functionalities (contacts, push notification, etc.), PWAs have certain constraints.

It is currently difficult or even impossible to use geofencing, NFC, access to phone contacts, fingerprint authentication, etc.

In addition, we must not forget that PWAs are built with web technologies, which does not allow them to fully use all the resources of the machine for heavy processing, 3d games, virtual reality, gourmet animations ...


3. User education

Although it has existed since 2015, the concept of PWA is relatively new. For the majority of users, installing an application is synonymous with going through the application store. It will take a little while before users have the instinct to add a website to the home screen of their device to install it.


To conclude

We have seen that PWAs make it possible to offer users visiting compatible websites a mobile experience close to that of a best mobile app development company in California while avoiding certain constraints of the latter. In order to offer the best possible experience to users, care will have to be taken to adapt to the different disparities of browsers, OS while keeping in mind that some advanced or resource-consuming features must be left to native applications.

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