PWA and SPA the future of app development

PWA and SPA the future of app development

Responsive web designing, or the concept of designing compatible web apps that automatically fit the screen resolution of all devices and browsers, has become an essential skill that every web designer should have. The critical need for Responsive web designing has come about from the exponential spike in smart device internet users across the globe. Progressive Web Apps (PWA) and Single Page Apps (SPA) are two app technology cum design concepts that can help further bridge the gap between the internet and smart device users, to deliver an almost native app like user experience while consuming website content.

Using SPA

Single Page Apps (SPA) have actually been around for some time now, but have failed to gain popularity, due to the steep learning curve involved as well as the plethora of JavaScript frameworks available to build SPA’s, creating a dilemma for developers as to what framework to use. This situation, however, will eventually change as certain frameworks are being backed and maintained by tech giants, as well as solid developer communities that make it easier for new developers to learn the concepts of SPA design.

So how can SPA’s impact on native app development, well firstly SPA apps load the entire application on a single web page with no additional sever requests, meaning technically there are no page, content or data load delays when navigating through the app. Secondly, since these apps are powered by front-end JavaScript frameworks, they deliver an extremely fast user experience. SPA’s when combined with clever, responsive web designing techniques, has the potential of creating app layouts and UI design that are more complex than what native apps can offer, simply because SPA apps would not have to be installed on the device, meaning the file size of the app will not impact on the app design or even app functionality.

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Progressive Web Apps (PWA) is a technique that uses newer and supporting browser technologies to progressively enhance web apps, so that they provide native app like functionality, most notably providing offline use and push notifications as well as access to smart device hardware, like camera and geo location capabilities. PWA is about coming up with an app specific caching strategy, where the developer must decide on what app features and functionality to cache for offline use. A good strategy would include first caching the static app shell or essential components of the app and then dynamically cache the specific user requested content later, meaning if a user has previously accessed a particular piece of content while browsing the web, he would also have that same content available when using the app offline as well, similar to native apps.

SPA and PWA apps are the future of web development, as it will make the web faster, more efficient and easily accessible. When these two concepts are combined, the opportunities for designers and developers seem endless. As is now progressive web apps are a very real alternative to mobile apps, especially for Android devices using the Chrome browser. However, If PWA apps are to act as a serious substitute to app store apps, then cross platform browser support for the underlying technologies is the key.

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