We’ve been increasingly asked about PWA’s recently and whether they are a better approach for developing apps so we thought it would be good to provide our opinion on the movement of PWA’s and whether native / hybrid development is going to become a thing of the past.
What is a PWA?
Simply put it is a mobile responsive web app with some additional files that tell browsers information that might be helpful if the browser wanted to let it behave like a real app. Like information about it’s splash screen, does it use push notifications, does it need access to location information. Things like that. I suppose it’s like a standardised way of editing in Android what is called an manifest file or on ios a info.plist file.
From the date of adding this post in September 2018 support in browsers has grown compared with two years ago when Chrome and Opera were the only fully supported browsers with Firefox and IE being in development. Safari had a proprietary implmentation required but they are a little bit stuck since the growing support by rival platform for PWAs is forcing Apple to conform with society’s demands putting the current AppStore 30% profit share ludicrisy in to an early grave.
https://vaadin.com/pwa/learn/browser-support see info on support here…
Our first thoughts were that a PWA just can’t have the same experience that an app provides. However a recent test on Android shows that once deploying the app to the home screen, Chrome treats the web app more like an app by giving it full screen, a splash screen and access to many hardware features available to native applications. And it’s not just Android, even using safari now on the latest version of iOS (currently 12 soon to be 13) the web app when added to the home screen, opens full screen with a splash screen.
There is an obvious conflict here begging the question… If PWA’s allow businesses to by-pass the AppStore’s 30% profit share scheme, why would Apple (& Google) show support for this technology?
We can think of many possibilities…
- Society eventually gets what it wants and in order to retain competitiveness platform providers have had to add support.
- There is a longer term plan by Google and Apple where other avenues of generating income are being sought after.