Progressive Web App Development

Definitive Guide To Progressive Web App Development Basics

The scenario of web apps was not as favourable when Steve Jobs offered the notion of web apps as the model for iPhone applications back in 2007. At the time, the tech community had not yet shown a strong interest in web-based applications. 

However, since 2015, digital behemoths such as Google and Microsoft have been laying the groundwork for Progressive Web App (abbreviated as PWAs) to take off. As a result, PWA has emerged as a must-have technology for both large organisations and small businesses. 

Progressive Web App is used by companies such as Twitter, Starbucks, Google, and Aliexpress to improve their online presence. Going forward in this article, we will talk about PWA development basics. We will also learn about building PWAs with React. So, let us start our informative article.

Progressive Web Applications: Basic Definition

A Progressive Web Application (PWA) is a web application that combines the advantages of both native and web apps. It provides hardware functionality wrapped in the body of a cross-platform application that is quicker, simpler, and less expensive to develop and maintain than a native application. 

It is simple to use and can be accessed from both mobile and desktop platforms, which is convenient for you. PWAs provide access to functionality that is not accessible on traditional web pages. It offers features such as offline work, push notifications, access to geolocation, a camera, a microphone, and other similar features. 

A PWA may also function outside of a browser by using a native app shell that can be launched at the time of installation. Many more beneficial features that help the Web seem more natural may be found at WhatWebCanDo. The development of Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) is dependent on a vast ecosystem of Web-based tools and frameworks that Android and iOS developers can only dream about. 

Of course, this isn’t the only reason why developers are drawn to Progressive Web Apps. Progressive web applications also make it considerably simpler to deploy and maintain your application. They are easy to develop and only need one version of the programme to be maintained, making them very efficient. Now before going ahead with building PWAs with React, we will see why to choose React PWA.

Reasons For Choosing React PWA

React is a JavaScript library that was created by Jordan Walke from Facebook in 2013 and is available as an open-source project. React was created to allow developers to create user interfaces in a quick, simple, and scalable manner. The library is maintained by the Facebook team, and it has now been integrated into their products, such as Facebook and Instagram. 

When it comes to the amount of JavaScript package downloads, React is unquestionably the leader, with an average of 8,227,335 downloads each week. The table below shows a comparison of the frequency of downloads for the React, Vue, Angular, and Ember web frameworks. Here are a few of the best features of React web development:

  • Extremely Powerful

React is excellent for developing web apps that are quick and scalable while also avoiding performance concerns. Performance concerns with JavaScript applications that involve the manipulation of the DOM (Document Object Model) are common. 

DOM stands for Document Object Model, and it is a structural representation of your website that allows computer languages to interact with it. React makes use of virtual DOM to allow for changes to the user interface to be made without having to repaint the whole page and risking rendering difficulties. 

Creating a React app allows you to make changes to the page in virtual memory rather than having to rely on code-heavy bootstrapping tools like JQuery to do this. Additionally, the quicker rendering speed of React minimises the time it takes for a website to load.

  • Simple To Understand

When compared to other JS frameworks such as Angular or Ember, React is not as difficult to understand. If you are wondering how to create a React progressive web application, it is not necessary to consider it to be rocket science. 

React is compatible with JSX, a syntactic extension that enables you to write HTML-like syntax in your JavaScript scripts. However, you are not required to utilise JSX with React — it is just a more straightforward method for your convenience. 

As a result, you may create a strong PWA using React by only using basic JavaScript and HTML & CSS. You can see the simplicity of React Native by checking React app example.

  • Appropriately Equipped

React provides a plethora of developer tools, boilerplates, and libraries to make debugging, testing, and design more straightforward and efficient. It provides several possibilities from which you may choose the one that best suits your specific activity. 

The most well-known examples include React Developer Tools, Facebook’s Create React App, Semantic UI React, and Ant Design, to name a few. React app example clearly shows how appropriately equipped this language is!

  • SEO Friendly

Failed Web Rendering Service (WRS) requests are a typical SEO-related problem that occurs while dealing with large web applications. Essentially, it implies that some sections of your website will not appear in Google search results. Your content on React-powered web pages will be properly indexed as a result of the usage of virtual DOM. Progressive web app examples built with React are SEO friendly.

  • Wide Community Support

According to Github statistics at the time of writing, React is the seventh most often starred open-source project. The React development community, on the other hand, is large and responsible. 

Their tagline is, “Assist us in moving the web ahead and become engaged.” In the category #reactjs, there are more than 248,000 questions on StackOverflow, which is the biggest programming community on the internet.

Progressive Web App Example

For instance, let’s have a look at two excellent React-powered Progressive Web Apps: Starbucks and Tinder. A robust and responsive React progressive web application is something that these organisations are skilled at developing. 

This is significant since these applications will serve as a clear illustration of React’s capabilities and what can be accomplished with its assistance. Here is the best React Progressive web app example:

  • Starbucks

To facilitate and speed up online ordering, a well-known global coffeehouse chain requested the development of a progressive web application. However, the firm already had mobile apps with the same functionality, but by using PWA, they were able to reduce the size of the app by 98 per cent. 

As seen in the Starbucks case study, it was a deciding factor in remote locations with less stable network connections to the internet. The PWA technology makes menu browsing, order personalization, and cart use much more user-friendly for the end-user. Furthermore, all of these functions are available even when the computer is not connected to the internet. 

Starbucks’ progressive web app offers a user interface that is quite similar to that of the native app. As a result, many Starbucks customers have shifted from the company’s mobile app to the company’s website. Starbucks was able to effectively grow its company with the introduction of the PWA, which was both powerful and simple to use. 

The number of daily active users has more than doubled, and the number of orders from desktops has increased to be almost as high as the number of purchases from smartphones. In addition, the construction of a progressive online application helped Starbucks to boost their indexability and visibility. 

When mobile users searched for “coffee near me,” the Starbucks app appeared on the first page of the search results thanks to the adoption of the React web app, which enhanced the SEO of React Progressive Web app example.

  • Tinder

Tinder Online, a progressive web application developed by a well-known online dating application, was published in 2017. It was part of the company’s expansion into nations with limited mobile internet access. Tinder Online enables users to surf the app quickly and smoothly without having to wait for their matches to appear on their screen.

Features Of PWA In React

  • Secure contexts, or HTTPS: Progressive web applications must be sent over a secure network, such as the one offered by HTTPS, to be effective. In addition to the security advantages, this aids in the establishment of your web app as a trustworthy site, which is essential if you want to incorporate transactions into your PWA or other web application.

    In addition, the following item on our list is only available via HTTPS if we have secure contexts in place. This emphasises the significance of having secure contexts in place.
  • The presence of one or more service workers is required for PWAs: Service workers are scripts that enable users to alter how web browsers handle network requests and asset caching. Employees in the service industry are essential to the delivery of dependable, quick online sites and offline experiences.
  • JSON Format: In addition, a manifest file (in JSON format) governs how your app looks to end-users and may be found in the root directory of your application. The manifest file contains all of the icons, the URL of the app, and any other design information that are required to make your PWA seem spiffy on mobile devices.

PWA Development Basics

Progressive Web App has been briefly explored in this section. And now it is time to go even further into the heart of the matter and understand what it is that makes PWAs so effective. Web technologies that are used to power progressive web applications include:

The following are examples of service workers:
A. Web Manifests
B. Application Shells

  • Service Workers

Service workers are responsible for laying the technical basis for a PWA. A service worker is a piece of code that your browser executes in the background to allow web apps to function when the browser is closed. It acts as an intermediate between your browser and the network, intercepting and handling network requests. 

With the help of service workers, a PWA may cache and utilise the files that have been cached, resulting in a smooth user experience. It enables web applications to dynamically load as you browse across the app, hence reducing data usage. It is quite similar to the behaviour we observe with native applications.

  • Web Manifests

The web app manifest is a JSON file that contains information about the PWA’s UI. It governs how progressive web applications may be downloaded and shown to users, much like a native programme purchased from an app store. Web app manifests include information about the application, such as its name, description, style, and a list of required resources. 

PWAs, in contrast to traditional web apps, which are just bookmarks, may make use of conventional Web APIs and be placed on a device’s home screen. Currently, browsers that enable web app manifests include mobile versions of Opera, Firefox, UC Browser, and Samsung Internet (at the time of writing). Additionally, the mobile Safari browser has limited functionality. And the Chrome browser offers desktop compatibility as well.

Progressive Web App In React Development Guide

We have previously looked at the benefits of the PWAs seen some fantastic PWA React examples in our previous sections. And now we’ve arrived at the crux of this article and the most intriguing and useful section of our piece. An introduction to PWA development is provided in the next part, which will explain how to create a React progressive web application:

  • Create A Simple React Apps

We will make use of the tool that we previously stated – Create React App (or CRA). It is a very easy environment for individuals who are just learning how to build Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) using React. 

It enables you to make use of the most recent JavaScript features via the usage of built-in Babel and webpack. You will not have to worry about the bundling and transpiring that is necessary for your programme to be distributed to the browsers as a result of this.

  • Create A Service Worker Account

As a result, CRA offers you all of the tools you need to deal with the subject of how to construct a Progressive Web App (PWA) using React. The question is, how do you develop a React progressive web application that can be operated in offline mode? 

It is necessary to configure the service worker file that was produced automatically – this is known as registering it. The index.js file may be found in the directory of your newly formed project, which is located in the root directory.

  • Configure the Web Application Manifest

The next step will be the configuration of the web app manifest for your progressive web application, which will be stored in the manifest.json file in the public directory of your application. You must make changes to the metadata that is responsible for the look of your application in this section. Check out what these primary manifest characteristics signify in more detail:

  • Short Name: The name of your application that appears inside the icon, such as on the users’ home screens or launchers.
  • Long Name: The name of your application that appears within the icon, such as on the users’ home screens or launchers.
  • Name: The name of your app that appears in app stores or browsers on startup screens and prompts, and that appears on startup screens and prompts. If the name property is not specified, the value of the short name will be used instead.
  • Icons: A collection of icons (or a single icon) that are shown on the user’s home screen, launcher, task switcher, splash screen, and other displays.
  • Start_url: Starting with version 4.0, the start URL parameter specifies the URL of the page that users will view when the app is first launched.
  • Display: This attribute is in charge of the appearance of the browser window. The software has many options, including hiding the address bar, running in a separate window, and going fullscreen.
  • Fullscreen: This option allows you to start the app without any of the browser’s UI, allowing it to take up the whole screen of the user’s device.
  • Standalone: This option enables you to launch the programme in a new window, just as you would a native application. It will also conceal browser user interface features such as the address bar.
  • Minimal-UI: This choice is quite similar to the previous one, but it just includes the most basic set of browser user interface elements, such as the back and reloads buttons.
  • Browser: This choice allows you to use your browser as you normally would.
  • Theme colour: This specifies the colour of the toolbar in your application’s theme.
  • Background_color: When users click on an app icon on their home screens, a splash screen shows a colour that matches the background colour setting.

​An application’s splash screen is a graphical element that displays when the programme is first opened. It is a window that includes the name and logo of your programme, as well as the background colour that you have specified for it. The splash screen is generated by the Chrome browser depending on the following attributes in your web manifest:

name; \sbackground color; \sicons

When it comes to icons, Chrome will automatically choose the icon that is the most appropriate for the device resolution. The majority of the time, icons with resolutions between 192px and 512px will suffice. However, if you want to ensure that your logo is compatible with as many devices as possible, you may use extra icons.

  • Put Your Pwa Through Its Paces

With this knowledge, we can now create a React progressive web application. The next stage is to put your app through its paces. You have now completed the development of your application and are ready to test it. Google has published a PWA checklist, and you can use Lighthouse to analyse the performance of your web application. It is a Chrome DevTools feature that can be found in the namely tab.

Step 1: Using the right-click menu on the page you want to analyse, choose ‘Inspect’ from the drop-down menu and Chrome DevTools will be shown. Alternatively, you may use the following keyboard shortcuts: Command + Option + C (for macOS) or Control + Shift + C (for Windows) (for Windows, Linux, Chrome OS).

Step 2: To generate a report, go to the Lighthouse tab and click on the option labelled “Generate report.” When you produce a Lighthouse report, make sure that the ‘Progressive Web App’ checkbox is selected.

Once the auditing process is complete, you will get your score as well as a summary of the factors that have an impact on your app’s performance in various conditions.

Rock It With Progressive Web App

Several well-known corporations and small businesses have benefited from Progressive Web Apps (PWAs), which are a happy medium between native and web applications. Aside from that, progressive web application development is said to be more resource-efficient. 

As a result, now is an excellent moment to begin reaping the benefits of this durable and promising technology. We hope this article on Progressive Web App helped you with everything!

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