What are progressive web applications ?

You got a great idea for an app! However, you’ve also probably heard that the app boom is now over!

A 2014 ComScore report indicates that the average American downloads 0 new apps a month. Only about one-third of smartphone owners download any apps in an average month, with the bulk of those downloading one to three apps.

It’s not that people aren’t using apps or spending less time on their mobile phones, the truth is a vast majority of time spent on mobile phones will be spent using maybe 1 to 4 of the same apps every day i.e. Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and maybe Uber.

New apps come and go, especially games, but breakthrough apps will be increasingly rare. A look at the top 25 most-used apps reflects mostly mature companies, including Facebook, Google, SnapChat, Ebay and Uber . Social media app usage is also on the decline across the globe

App downloads have declined 20% on a Year on year average. This is despite the fact that global mobile usage is on the increase.

It is also notoriously difficult for a new app to be discovered, due in part that both Apple and Google app stores have very poor search and promotion functionality for app developers.

People point to the examples of Uber and SnapChat as examples of what can happen if your app breaksthrough, but the truth is the odds of a breakthrough are pretty much stacked against you. You will need equal amounts of luck and money for promotion activities.

A new approach

The most widely used app on all mobile phones is the humble web browser. This is depsite the fact that people are spending most their time in instant messaging and social media type applications, they are however still resorting to the web browser to fulfil the usual type of ecommerce functionality or internet search.

Progressive Web Applications use modern web capabilities to deliver an app-like user experience.

Native app store apps do things like send push notifications, work offline, look and feel like an app (as Apple and Google have imagined them), load on the homescreen, and so on and so forth. Mobile Web Apps accessed in a mobile browser, by comparison, historically haven’t done those things. Progressive Web Apps fix that with new Web APIs, new design concepts, and new buzzwords.

Progressive Web Apps are installable and live on the users home screen, without the need for an app store. They offer an immersive full screen experience with help from a web app manifest file and can even re-engage users with web push notifications.

On the whole, Progressive Web Apps describe a collection of technologies, design concepts, and Web APIs that work in tandem to provide an app-like experience on the mobile web.

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