TOP Frameworks and Tools to Build Progressive Web App in 2020

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It is amazing to realize how much the development of modern technologies has revolutionized our lives. People of the 21st century seem to have totally forgotten the B.C. (that is Before Computers) era. For them, living without a smartphone or tablet is a primordial existence of unenlightened cavemen. Today, using gadgets is the shortest way to partake in the amenities of contemporary civilization.

frameworks tools build progressive web app

By pressing an icon on the touchscreen, you can order meals, book tickets, open St. Valentine’s Day postcards in your inbox, play games, pay for utilities and do dozens of other things. All you have to do to get access to a whole world of comfort is to install a particular app on your device. It is natural that the number of the latter, for example, smartphones, manifests an exponential growth with the expected figure of 3.5 billion by the end of 2020.

Such a trend can’t stay unnoticed by businesses, who quickly realized the value of the new way of directly reaching out to the consumers. Consequently, the demand for app building is experiencing a boom generating a supply market delivering respective services.

Native Apps

The earlier type of apps is known as a native app. It is an application coded in a specific programming language and designed for a certain software. Their optimum functionality is provided by the tools and frameworks of the operating system (Android or iOS) they are compatible with. Being secure, easily publishable, and energy-efficient, native apps can seamlessly interact with others and allow for a simple procedure of purchasing and subscription. However, their shortcoming is the low adaptation potential, which caused the rise of Progressive Web Apps (PWAs). 

Progressive Web Apps: A Closer View

Such an app is essentially a website that operates as an application but doesn’t require installation on your device. This peculiarity determines a number of boons PWAs provide: they are easily accessible (even in bad network conditions), responsive, SEO-friendly, and light-weighted. They have a high adaptation capacity so they can be run on various devices and platforms. Plus, their setup provides users with unified experience, allowing them to utilize the same UI (user interface) both for the browser and the app. 

Given the advantages of PWAs, they are widely leveraged by businesses to propel their efficiency and widen the potential audience. If you want your company train to stay on the competitive rails, it is time for you to have one. 

Developing a PWA is a front-end practice. It means that CSS, HTML, JavaScript, and other web technologies are employed to create an app that will be directly seen and operated by the user. And the first step in building an app like that is deciding on the progressive web app framework – software that will make creating the app a breeze. Despite a wide range of such programs. knowing what framework is the best for PWA is essential for building a viable product. 

Choosing the Best Progressive Web App Framework

Opting for a specific PWA tool, it is important to realize what you expect from it and what end product you plan to receive. Once it is done, you can select the tool that will suit you to a tee.

AngularJs

Launched by Google in 2009, it is still maintained by its developers, enabling the user to build apps compatible with the majority of browsers. It is the most efficient for creating single-page applications, providing foolproof testing and maintenance procedures. With its open-code free access, “more functionality less code” approach, and lots of reusable components, this framework enjoys a sizable community. However, learning it is quite challenging (which is especially true for older versions), since it requires proficiency in Typescript.

React

This is another PWA framework with a numerous community, which is explained by the fact that React was developed by Facebook. Excellent at creating UI, it can be employed for both web and mobile app creation. Its extensive ecosystem provides high flexibility and scalability. Among other benefits are its cross-platform operation and potential for creating native apps (which, however, requires a platform-specific code). Its downsides are conditioned by its relative novelty, so a clearly shaped implementation methodology is yet to be accomplished.

Vue.Js

It is arguably the best JavaScript framework for PWA, perfect for building single-page apps and UI because of its simple coding, scalability, high speed, a plethora of transition effects, clean documentation, and light weight (only 18Kb!). However, its excessive flexibility is fraught with adverse consequences and its small support team often finds it hard to address challenges related to it.

Ionic

This is one of the top frameworks which may be integrated with all the tools listed above. Being a complete package, Ionic can be employed to create cross-platform apps of any kind as well as websites. Its universal nature is, however,also its downside since it raises compatibility issues and slows down hybrid apps. Frequent updates cut two ways too because they require changeovers of the existing apps to attune them to the recent alterations.

Polymer

This is another open-source Google product preferred by 7 big-time companies like IBM, Coca-Cola, General Electric, McDonald’s, Victoria’s Secret, Netflix, and Bloomberg. It is perfect for building highly-customized apps and HTML elements through a wide gamut of templates and web components. Polymer renders debugging tools irrelevant with all its browser-embedded development tools. However, mobile apps built with Polymer may display a slow performance, and the necessity to create applications for each browser is quite exacting. 

PWABuilder

Having the backing of Microsoft, this tool is simple to install from the browser. It offers some features developed by the same company (like Microsoft Graph Authentication, Calendar, Activity API, etc.) and provides all benefits of a native app. Moreover, it allows effortless content-sharing and enables the connection of midi gadgets. Although being quite power-consuming, this framework lets you easily modify screen orientation, background color, and other features of your future PWA.

WebPack

It is a Java-based tool (like, say, Hybris and most of the frameworks mentioned here) with an excellent record for the capacity to bundle all JavaScript resources down to fonts and images. Their identification as JavaScript objects allows quick loading. It is compliant with all existing browsers and can generate any static asset once the dependencies from the modules are obtained through the command-line interface. However, it takes quite a long time to become proficient at it, and the community size is still limited.

Lighthouse

Its primary function is to improve the web page quality, and it is often leveraged to test various parameters of the app, including load time and SEO. Being an open-source tool, it can be run against any type of web page and provides free audits for PWAs, accessibility, performance, and whatnot. It is able to estimate the CPU’s idle time and User Input Latency. However, to have such numerous operations function properly, it requires an adequate performance of the backend service.

PWA.rocks

It is a great starter for a budding PWA developer. By providing app examples via innovative illustrations classified into several categories (like games, business, shopping) it lets you see what the ready-made PWA will look like. 

GitHub

Being a community-driven website, it contains numerous project repositories (including the previously mentioned PWA.rocks and Webpack) as well as discussions for a wide scope of programming-related issues. Reading through these, you can get inspiration for starting your own repository or at least advance your proficiency in app building. Moreover, you can smoothly collaborate with remote developers, leveraging GitHub’s project management capabilities.

WebAssembly

Being just five years old, it offers an innovative approach to PWA building, aspiring to replace JavaScript. It isn’t limited to a particular programming language or a browser and is focused on enhancing user performance, particularly on offsetting the latency of some apps. It is crucial for applications that necessitate numerical accuracy such as games or stock trading apps.

Quasar

This tool may be used for creating not only PWAs, but other app types as well. Being based on Vue.Js, it is easily customizable and extendable and gets regular releases of new features along with quick responses to community requests. Living up to the motto “write a code and simultaneously deploy it as a website or an app”, Quasar spares you having different codebases for each of them and addresses the need for libraries internally, requiring only a small footprint for it. 

Phoenix

Making use of Elixir as a programming language, Phoenix is somewhat similar to Ruby on Rails. But with Rails, performance is sacrificed to provide extended productivity, and Phoenix managed to retain productivity without cutting down on speed. Among its other benefits are the ability to handle multiple real-time connections, the live reload feature that enables automatic browser updates as soon as the page is saved, and compatibility with other front-end frameworks.

Workbox

Being, in fact, an assemblage of node modules and JavaScript libraries, Workbox is perfect for caching assets via Service Worker and utilizing all the features necessary for building an app. It is a foolproof tool that enables fast and efficient PWA creation, especially when it comes to offline apps. However, since it doesn’t see eye to eye with iOS, it may cause compatibility issues.

AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages)

Initially developed by Google to publish websites, this tool is now extensively employed for PWA building thanks to its simplicity and mobile-savvy design. It furnishes all app functionalities for email and is compatible with all existing browsers. Yet, this tool is not devoid of certain shortcomings. Smooth tracking and implementation may encounter problems caused by updates and information conflict. Besides, fans of exquisite design can be dissatisfied with the minimalism of the branding and styling of the app.

Knockout

This free tool is a purely JavaScript one, which makes it compatible with practically all browsers and web frameworks. Among its fortes is the effective management of Model-View-View-Model binding that allows a developer to streamline JavaScript user interface coding. Another boon is the framework’s library that is easily integrable with existing websites.

As you see, the variety of PWA building frameworks available in 2020 is astounding, so a layman may be quite at a loss as to which one to choose. And even if you have firmly set your mind on some of them, building a high-quality and professional-looking app isn’t really a DIY issue to be easily tackled by bloggers or amateurs who dabble in code writing. That is why addressing a seasoned team of experts in the field is a necessary prerequisite not only to receiving a top-notch product but to securing all phases of app development, such as UI design, coding, testing, maintenance, and technical support.

Conclusion

To stay competitive in modern market conditions, businesses must take the advent of state-of-the-art technologies in its stride. The current mobile industry offers a unique channel to engage customers, curtail cost, and eventually outsell the rivals. Among a plethora of mobile-related tools, Progressive Web Applications deserve close attention thanks to their inherent flexibility and immersive user experience they provide. A dedicated team of IT professionals can assist you in creating a high-profile PWA that will give your business a powerful boost.

For ClientsMay 28, 2020
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