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12 Apr, 2023 3 min read

Are Progressive Web Apps Dead?

Are Progressive Web Apps Dead? Or Are The Days of Native Apps Numbered? Analysis of the Present and Future State of Mobile App Development
Are Progressive Web Apps Dead?

When progressive web apps (PWAs) erupted onto the scene in 2015, many thought they would come to dominate the digital future. 

It was widely thought that PWAs would fill the void between websites and native apps and that the latter would gradually shuffle off into the void reserved for redundant technology. 

Here we are, eight years later, and that has not happened. While PWAs are still performing valuable tasks and are mainly good value for the services they deliver, the same can be said for native apps. 

What does this mean? Are progressive web apps dead? Or are progressive web apps the future? As we shall see, the picture is a little more nuanced than that, and we are probably set for a period when the two forms of mobile technology will continue to co-exist.

What is the Difference Between Native Apps and PWAs?

We live in an increasingly mobile-first world. It has been estimated that people now consume twice as much content via their mobile devices as they do through desktop computers

As a result, the quality of the mobile user experience has become incredibly important. 

Native apps are the applications you download from an app store to deliver this. They are usually more expensive to build, but they bring an excellent user experience. 

PWAs, meanwhile, occupy the middle ground between native apps and traditional websites. They are designed to work in the same way as a native app, but they tend to be easier, faster and cheaper to build. They also offer a better user experience than the mobile version of your website. 

One of the biggest differences lies in how a user sources a PWA. Put simply; you don’t need to go to an app store to download it to your device. If you have ever been on a company’s website and seen an invitation to “download our app” directly from that platform, it is likely that this is a PWA. 

However, the sleeker and more streamlined experience of using a PWA does have its disadvantages in terms of factors such as security and the ability to roll out upgrades.

Are Progressive Web Apps or Native Apps Dead?

The answer is - neither.

In the immediate aftermath of the advent of PWAs, many people suggested that the days of native apps were numbered. When that proved not to be the case, some concluded that PWAs would soon be a thing of the past. 

As time has passed, it has become clear that there is an ongoing demand for the advantages and features delivered by both types of web app. 

People still instinctively reach for their app store when they want an app. And native apps continue to deliver a superlative mobile user experience. Using features on your device, such as the camera or GPS, will always be quicker and easier on a native app.

At the same time, there will still be plenty of demand for the sleek, streamlined functionality and top-notch user experience of good PWAs. 

It would appear that reports of the demise of either of these forms of mobile communication were premature. 

When you want to discuss building a web app – either a native app or a PWA – speak to Steadfast Collective. We have extensive experience in designing and delivering both and will be able to produce a solution that meets your precise needs.

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