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Progressive or Native web applications: pros, cons, and features

Progressive or Native web applications: pros, cons, and features

With Mobile Internet technologies’ improvement during the last years, the number of people that started using mobile devices has grown extensively. Nowadays, they use mobile devices for surfing the Net twice more than desktop computers. Business owners consider this a new action field to engage more customers as mobile users are still growing.

There are several ways of going mobile and creating an experience to meet people’s expectations.

The first one is using responsive web design to create a mobile-friendly web experience which is the minimal improvement that can be done.

The second way is creating a native mobile app. Users download it from the app store on devices and add shortcuts on screens. These apps are better mobile UX and use device features better. They are expensive and time-consuming to create.

The newest development is Progressive Mobile Apps which combines mobile websites and apps features. So what is the best business solution, Progressive or Native web applications? Continue reading!

What is a Progressive Web App?

Progressive Web Apps (PWA) are optimized responsive websites using JavaScript frameworks and working as mobile apps. Progressive web apps are getting more advantaged than native apps, but their operation can be limited on iOS. These apps single code-base ana help companies in search engine ranking.

Users can install PWAs icons on the mobile’s home screen. They are engaging users offering a full-screen experience, but they remain websites.

Progressive Web Apps:

  • Provide full-screen experience without navigation panels;
  • Reliable, they load instantly from different websites, including Safari, Chrome, Firefox, in other network conditions;
  • Fast and simple in usage, as they interact with the user quickly, with pleasant animation and scrolling;
  • Save space on devices;
  • Engaging and look like natural applications;
  • The desktop version is available.

According to research, Progressive Web Apps are 30% cheaper to develop and maintain than native apps, which require much more effort and time to develop under different platforms. PWA has only one app to support.

What is Native Application?

Native apps are regular mobile apps closely related to device type and operating system. That means they were developed for use on a particular platform or device. Platform-specific app stores like iOS from Apple or Android from Google distribute native apps and subject them to random review by the platform before distribution. Native apps for different platforms are developed independently, which causes higher cost, effort, and time. To launch a native mobile app, developers need to validate and optimize it at the app store to grant success.

Progressive Web Apps pros and cons

PWS Apps advantages:

  • Good at shortened budgets and startups. Developing a native app requires much more time and costs to produce. If you can not spend much money, effort, and time or want to be cost-efficient, PWAs are the right choice.
  • Suitable for both Android and iOS. PWA is downloaded from the website directly, does not need to be approved by the app store, and follows strict technical requirements.
  • PWAs grab users’ attention through SEO optimization. Native apps are also optimized, but SEO optimization has much more advantages.
  • Have high-load speed because users don’t have to load all the content in the native apps. So Progressive web apps use little of the phone’s memory.
  • Users can run progressive Web Apps on desktops.
  • PWAs suit small businesses and startups. The development is quite simple, cheap, and fast. Apps suit perfectly to initial company launch.

However, PWAs have some performance problems like

  • The device battery is under high usage.
  • PWAs are lacking some features. They do not have access to the contact list, camera, geolocation, calendar, etc.
  • Have integration problems with hardware.
  • Progressive web apps don’t provide access to app stores. Users must visit the website before adding an icon on the device’s home screen.
  • Progressive web apps are still under development, and some platforms don’t support functionalities. Users can be limited in using some functions.
  • PWAs provide good performance results, but if the business is eager to come to a big market, Native apps give more advantages for engaging users.

Nevertheless, Progressive Web Apps are clear and promising and offer many features. They provide enough features, and users don’t have to download and install them.

Progressive web app development is not subjected to strict requirements. However, Apple has no intention to support PWS. The user experience is much better on Android devices.

Business owners must understand precise needs and goals to achieve the best results using web solutions.

Progressive or Native web applications: pros, cons, and features

Native Apps: pros and cons

Native web apps advantages:

  • Fast and reliable performance on mobile devices;
  • Provide high security using HTTPS protocol. Developers claim it is easier to implement security systems for native apps by using several methods, such as two-factor authentication. App has to correspond to several requirements before being approved by the app store.
  • Provide good UX and design. As they are developed for the particular platform, native apps are integrated. They provide higher speed and comprehensive capabilities to grant the best UI/UX experience.
  • Developed separately for a particular platform or even device model taking into account all peculiarities and requirements;
  • Have good technical support and a developers community. Users can choose different apps taking into account the app rating.

So, Native web apps are developed for mobile devices and provide better performance and features than Progressive Web Apps. The native web app is always on the device and has an icon on the screen. They have access to all device features, including photos, contacts, documents. GPS data and others. Some native apps understand voice commands and gestures. They also provide offline functions.

Still, native apps have some disadvantages.

  • They are expensive in development and need not less than two teams to successfully work. Each team develops an application for the particular platform. So the product owner ensures successful utilization on Android and iOS.
  • Native apps need time to launch. The app stores have a list of requirements for applications to correspond. Sometimes developers have to rework them several times. If the business has a strict deadline, developing PWA for use on any device is better.
  • Native web apps are harder to promote, as search engines do not index them. Businesses need to advertise their app with third-party help.
  • Users have to find, download and install the native app before using it. Many people avoid doing that, especially for unimportant actions like looking at catalogs.

What to choose: Progressive or Native Web Application

Both Progressive and Native Apps have several advantages. To select the right business solution, the owner has to thoroughly think over any detail based on business strategy, time, and budget limits at the particular moment.

Progressive Web Apps

Web development teams can launch products fast and under limited budgets. This solution suits startups and small companies that have not developed a specific business idea to reach a broad audience and understand customer needs.

PWAs are good when some functionality does not correspond to the app store policy.

Native Apps

Native web apps provide better control for business owners and have advanced functionality. So if the future project is going to be complicated and needs device functionality, a Native app is the right solution as PWAs are not available to reach Bluetooth, geolocation, or camera functions.

If the business deals with personal data or other sensitive information, a Native app is the only possibility. PWAs can not guarantee high protection levels.

Native apps are suitable for businesses without websites as PWA’s main idea is connecting users to the website. Native apps are self-sufficient and can perform independently.

Native apps allow businesses to track user’s location and movements. Big stores and restaurants send notifications on customers’ phones when they come close to the physical location. Companies give special offers, discounts, or menu opinions to encourage people to visit them. Geo-fencing features are only available in native apps.

Summary

Web development technologies are evolving at lightning speed as well as PWAs do. They are perfect for social media. Progressive Web apps generate organic traffic, and users get what they need.

Native applications deliver personalized information, and companies get an incredibly efficient way of communicating with users through push notifications that suit news sites, blogs, e-commerce, and learning sites.

What to choose, Progressive or Native web applications entirely depends on business needs. Progressive Web Applications promise business solutions, but they still have a long way to go to full-fledged market players. Up to that time, native apps will be in high demand among businesses and users.

The main difference between Progressive and Native web applications is the development process. Native applications run on mobile devices and PWAs in browsers. In some cases, progressive web apps are most suitable, and in others only, native apps are the only way out. To choose the right solution, business owners have to realize:

  • Main business idea;
  • The purpose of application (independent work or supporting website);
  • Business responsibilities (security, control);
  • Application priorities (speed, convenience, safety, comfort);
  • Business needs (suitable for both platforms or a particular one).

The native versus PWA debate will remain important, but it hasn’t become a competition. They don’t exclude each one from the market as there are use cases for both, and the usage depends only on technological needs. Even both applications can be used within one business.

Ivan Kolesnikov

About the author:

Ivan Kolesnikov

Experienced professional in programming.

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