Progressive web Apps and the future of mobile Apps
The way we access the web on our mobile devices as always been important to businesses and developers since this to some extent determined how much profit or losses the latter made.
Micro suns with their Java Platform, Micro Edition, or Java ME also known as J2ME was among the first of such technologies that changed the way we accessed the web on our mobile devices. J2ME introduced mobile Apps to our mobile devices. The platform was very popular since it employed the Java language which was both open source and known by a number of users, however in-spite its popularity, due to number of factors J2ME did not quite revolutionize the way we accessed the web.
The iPhone App Store opened on July 10, 2008 marked the start of the revolution of the way we use the web on mobile devices, this was followed by the launch of the iPhone 3G in 2011. The iphone 3G was a game changer since it had support for the app store and was very superior to the Nokia N and E series that used native browsers and J2ME apps.
The Google play store formerly android market opened in 2008 but was not relevant until 2014 when the boom in android phone usage and quality started to rival the iphone and the blackberry. The apple store and Google pay store had a total of about 250 billion downloads by 2014. The figures showed the money potential that mobile app development had for both the developer and marketing departments of companies.
The growing trend of mobile app development meant that we saw a decline in visits to traditional mobile websites and hence mobile web development was no longer a lucrative business to the developers and business owners as time went on, some businesses started to shut down their mobile websites in favor of custom made apps.
But the question still remains is developing a mobile app better than a mobile website? As of 2015, the app store had approximately 1.5 million apps and 1.9 million for the google play store. BBC notes that a large chuck of these are “Zombie apps” which just lie in the store but have never been downloaded. In 2015, a study by comScore noted that a phone user only uses about 3 apps frequently. One should also note that there more than 4 mobile platform so if you intend to reach all your possible Claudine, you need to develop for the all platforms this means a stretch in your budget.
On the other side, web developers have been busy, with frameworks such as bootstrap, material design, Nodejs and polymer among others, mobile websites have evolved. Most of the functionality of native apps like notification can now be archived through a web app.
Introducing progressive web app.
We preferred native apps over websites since they were on our home screen, they loaded fast and we could us them offline. Now with progress web apps, your website can do all this. And t he fact that its a website means that you only have to worry about developing once for all platforms and you can save other resources for marketing. Progressive web apps are also install-able but without straining the users’ memory which comes in handy since users have concern over the the storage on their devices.
Fipkart lite one of the first progressive app has reported a 35,000 new visitors to their website every day and 15,000 returning visits every day. Flipkart had late last year shut down their mobile website due to low traffic until now.
Its also now clear that mobile websites are not only for marketing, or if your aim is to deliver content and establish a broad mobile presence that can be easily shared between users and found on search engines but can now offer some of the functionality of a native app.
As of now, progressive web apps are supported by most browsers including chrome, Mozilla Firefox and safari. Microsoft has also reported plans to include support for progressive web apps and so has Opera.
in conclusion, Progress web apps offer a lot of promise to web developers to recapture the market that had been taken over by native apps. As progressive web apps continue to grow to include feature such as access to users hard like camera, mobile apps might start to decline in popularity. Business owners and developer should start thinking about progressive apps unless its absolutely needed to develop a native app.