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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.