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Cross Platform Progressive Web Apps

Discussion in 'Ideas, Needs, Concept Feedback' started by OhMyGuersh, Mar 29, 2019.

  1. OhMyGuersh
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    OhMyGuersh New Contributor

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    Im exploring creating a Progressive Web App (PWA). The app will mostly be used on the web on a desktop, but I want to have the option to scale the app to mobile as well. Does anybody have any experience with managing a cross platform Progressive Web App (PWA)? If so, what are some of the issues that you have encountered?
     
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  2. kanunay
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    kanunay Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER

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    I have been exploring this as well. I currently have a web app that is optimized for mobile use.

    My app depends heavily on access to a database, so the offline functionality of PWA isn't as interesting to me as the ability to have push notifications and for it to easily appear on the user's home screen without going through a bunch of steps.

    I do remember an issue with iOS, I don't know if it's true anymore but at one time you still had to make the user go through a bunch of extra steps to get an icon on the home screen.
     
  3. Akeem
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    Akeem Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED

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    PWAs are fabulous, however, a lot of people underestimate a basic mobile application.

    I ran into a ton of problems when I tested my own idea as a PWA. Sure, you can get push notifications that can increase engagement and you get an icon on the homescreen, however, IMO the bad outweighs the good.

    Personally, I went with an actual application (without prior mobile development experience at that point) and simply dragged a webView element (a web browser) into the app which redirected to my mobile site and published the application.

    In many ways, I still regard it as a PWA simply because it's just a neater version of the "Add to homescreen", but without the problems.
     
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  4. OhMyGuersh
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    Thanks for your perspective Akeem. Can you elaborate on some of the problems that you ran into, as well as the "bad" about PWAs.

    Also, correct me if I'm wrong, but it sounds like ultimately you chose to make a hybrid app instead of a PWA. If that is not a hybrid app, what is this approach called?
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2019
  5. Akeem
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    Akeem Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED

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    • Speed is a massive downside to PWAs when compared to alternatives such as a native or hybrid application.
    • PWAs make it more difficult to store internal files on a user's mobile device (away from service worker and cache stuff).
    • You can't use most device features through a PWA, meaning you're losing out on certain features.
    • PWAs generally tend to use more battery power than a native or hybrid app.
    • You're losing out on app store and playstore traffic.
    • If you're not connected to the internet, tough luck, PWAs can't function without an internet connection.
    In regards to your second paragraph, yes, you're right. I went with the hybrid approach simply because PWAs wouldn't cut it for me. Personally, I find that most people see PWAs as the easy option to throw out an application, not realising that with a little bit more effort they can do much more with a very simple hybrid application. This does ofcourse depend on the purpose of the PWA, however, it's actually not difficult at all to release a hybrid app and you get the best of both worlds.

    This is just my opinion.
     
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  6. Pawel Kata
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    Pawel Kata New Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED

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    Latest iOS does not support PWA's properly, still, so if that's your market, you're better off making a mobile app. I'd like to suggest React Native as an easy way of making a mobile app for both Android and iOS. Also, with frameworks like react-native-web you'll also be able to have ~80% of your web app ready this way. The development is cheaper, than native apps, and the software works a lot smoother than PhoneGap/Ionic/Xamarin based products, which are basically websites packed in an app with a web browser without an address bar. Of course it's not rainbows and unicorns, but the amount of potential issues decreases daily and the technology is pretty mature at the moment. Uber Eats, Instagram, Wallmart, Soundcloud all use React Native and work great. That's just my 0.02$. First (hopefully) helpful post, too ;-)
     
  7. OhMyGuersh
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    Thank you for your insight Akeem. It has been very helpful.
     
  8. LexicMedia
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    Hello, let me try and explain you the scenarios based on our experiences with PWAs.
    There will certainly always be the argument that a progressive web app is not native, and therefore not as performant and secure as a native app, and will never feel 100% like it to the user. And to be fair that’s probably right. But it’s also very probable that these differences will almost disappear, particularly for the normal user. And perhaps there are even users that prefer to see the same controls and to have the same look and feel when they access an application on their PC, iPhone, Android tablet, a Surface computer, on the TV and in the car.

    From a development perspective, there are lots of arguments for a ‘one implementation serves them all’ solution. I won’t start with that again!

    And another very interesting point is this: Since a PWA is basically a web app, the migration for many pages to a fully fledged device application is very close at hand! So even traditional online-only, browser-based pages could become offline applications on the home screen of your device.

    So finally and most importantly is the fact, that the big tech giants are working on support: Google, Microsoft, Apple. In the world of the web and apps, it’s rarely a mistake to follow what they agree on. When Apple first introduced their iPhone 1 in 2007, they went with a concept very similar to PWAs. The only problem was, that there wasn’t the web technology like we have now. And Flash just didn’t meet their standards, or they couldn’t agree on a deal with Adobe. That’s why they went with native apps. So all in all, there is certainly a big future for progressive web apps.

    In case if you have any requirements that we might can assist you, feel free to connect.
    D M: preeti.saini63
     
  9. LexicMedia
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    Hel

    Hello Kanunay, as you mentioned that your App depends heavily on the database i would suggest you to opt for Cross Platform App Development or maybe Native Development as the app will need to access the database everytime for its functioning. React Native could be a very good example here as this is a latest platform having cost effectiveness of Cross Platform and User responsiveness of a Native Platform.

    In case if you need further details, reach out: preeti.saini63/ +917726998823
     
  10. astr0
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    +1 for React Native, almost everything except rendering components can be shared with WebApp, and it's almost like a native app on the look&feel and performance(native rendering, just JS runtime instead of Java/machine code).

    I wouldn't put Xamarin with PhoneGap and Ionic if you're not planning to put the whole Web app inside a WebView. It's AOT-compiled on iOs and MSIL with mono runtime on Android. Haven't worked with it for a few years though, maybe something had changed that I'm not aware of. But you won't get shared code with WebApp, cause it's C#/.Net.
     
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  11. Anand Mahajan
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    There are definitely pros and cons of both WPS and native apps. But WPS is the next level of mobile apps when it comes to publishers. Readers want their apps to load fast and WPS has solved that prob irrespective of shaky networks.
     
  12. 404profound
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    404profound Gold Contributor I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass

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    Currently building a PWA on the Node/MongoDB/Express/Vue-Nuxt stack. Contrary to common preachings I'm doing web-first before doing mobile. Easier to maintain control without worrying about app store bullshit requirements. My API is decoupled from the front end so it will serve the mobile UI as well once it's ready.
     
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  13. astr0
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    astr0 Grinding Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER

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    Smart approach. It's also easier to develop/debug/test/iterate with web UI first.

    Why Vue and not React?
     
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  14. 404profound
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    404profound Gold Contributor I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass

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    @MJ DeMarco
     
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  15. 404profound
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    404profound Gold Contributor I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass

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    Vue vs React is mostly a matter of preference. They both mount a virtual dom and use flux reactive state. The main difference is in component patterns and syntax. React is JSX and strongly modularized. Vue is more traditional ES6/HTML and I have CSS preprocessing (SCSS). I've tried learning all three (Angular/React/Vue) and Vue won because it's easiest to work with and diagnose errors. Their performance benchmarks are also nearly identical.
     
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  16. astr0
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    astr0 Grinding Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER

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    Yeah, totally a matter of preference.

    I don't know much about Angular cause I don't like their architecture/design decisions at all. Though it's very popular and my wife coded in Angular for years :rofl:.

    React won my value competition mostly because it's more popular and it's easier to find good devs with experience in React than Vue here. Modularity is also great for code reuse, even between projects. Oh, and it's very easy to configure SCSS too.

    Thanks for a quick answer!
     
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    Sure thing!
     

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