We can hardly imagine people without smartphones these days. Technology has grown to such an extent that you can literally almost do anything using a smartphone. The popularity is growing every day which means that the users expect an experience from both applications and websites. To meet the requirements, the Progressive Web App or PWA standard has been designed which offers the best of both worlds.
It has eventually branched out into Trusted Web Activities which has blurred the lines between the website and applications to a greater extent.
So, let’s get to understand how it is affecting the apps to function in a better way with a lot of added benefits for the companies using it.
What is the PWA (Progressive Web App)?
Using PWAs the websites are able to use the full capacity of modern web browsers which include overall performance speed, optimization of load times, geolocation access, offline functionality, cameras, sensors, Bluetooth and so much more. Progressive Web App can also be installed on the user’s home screen which will allow them to access a website just like they do with other apps.
PWAs are being widely implemented nowadays and it is the next step in creating user-friendly websites that will allow everyone to access endless possibilities.
From the user’s perspective is it very useful as it works optimally well with slower internet connections and in offline mode as well by using the cached data from previous visits. It offers an enhanced user experience which is why more and more people are starting to use web applications more. It doesn’t even take up space which an application would usually do.
What is TWA?
TWA or Trusted Web Activity allows us to use PWA standard online services in a special container based on the Chrome browser. From the point of view of users, it acts just like any standard application and these can be published on the Google Play Store and Apple App Store as well.
TWA is a browser instance where it works in a verified mode and without its own graphic interface (menu and URL bar). It is capable of connecting only to a specific domain to make it more like a full-fledged mobile application.
The TWA is a special container that extends the capabilities of PWA in a trusted and more secure way. Therefore, it is important to fine-tune the PWA and the efficiency of the web application before implementing a TWA. You can also run a www redesign service which ensures that the website has the feel and look of a mobile application.
Requirements for a Progressive Web App to become a good base for a TWA application
The owner of the application needs to be the owner of the domain linked to the app as well. The website also has to meet the PWA guidelines:
- Have a working service worker.
- Maintain all traffic in https.
- Have a correct manifest.json.
- Work offline
A TWA application also needs to guarantee relevant performance which includes service speed, smooth operation, and a lightness of the data which is being transferred.
To publish TWA applications on the Google Play Store, you need to have an active, paid Google Play developer account. It can be used to publish subsequent versions and analyze various aspects like downloads, installations, and deletions., It also allows the developer to view user reviews.
Differences between TWA based apps and Native/ Hybrid Apps
- In the case of native mobile apps, you need to develop and maintain separate projects for individual operating systems whereas, in the case of TWAs which is created using PWAs, you need to develop and maintain a single project for all the operating systems( Android, iOS, macOS, Linux, Windows) and various web browsers as well.
- In native/ hybrid mobile apps there remain risks of inconsistencies and gaps in the user experience on various devices while TWAs offer consistent and seamless customer experience across all devices.
- Native/hybrid apps involve fees from external app platforms like Apple AppStore and Google Play Store. The PWA/TWAs does not involve any additional or hidden costs.
- Native/Hybrid apps are discoverable only through app stores whereas PWA/TWAs have website level discoverability including search engines, SEO, traffic promotions, and advertising.
- Native/Hybrid apps require multiple resources like computing power, graphics card, etc whereas the TWAs only require resources limited to the context of web browsers.
- The drawback that the web-based applications have is that presently there is no support for fingerprint recognition and contactless payments which are readily available in the case of native/hybrid apps.
In most cases, TWAs have the capability to replace native applications completely as most users generally spend the bulk of their time using only a few certain apps while most of the other activities are done using a browser. In various cases like e-commerce and e-services, PWAs and TWAs offer a better customer experience in comparison to native applications and is gradually becoming a perfect replacement.
For companies, using a TWA can have a lot of benefits and this is a major reason why more and more companies are nowadays choosing TWA based apps rather than the native Android and iOS apps.
The key benefits that using a TWA offer are
- Developing Cost: Developing costs are much less than that of native applications as a single project will work across various platforms. The production process is a lot faster as well due to the same reason. It is cost-effective and can be done without a lot of hassle as a single code is sufficient.
- Google Play store: The application can be placed on the Google Play store and app stores as well if desired.
- Required Coding: The updates will be easier to roll out as the coding required is a lot less than native apps as only one code can be used to manage the application across various platforms. The easy updating process allows users to access the up-to-date application at all times. The updates for TWA are done similarly to PWA updates. The changes are posted in one channel the user updates happen automatically.
- Co-shared data: The app data and the website data are stored in one place. This means that the users do not need to re-enter their login credentials and can easily find the previous content.
- Comparison: The application size in the case of TWA is significantly smaller in comparison to TWA apps. This saves a lot of space for the users which would have otherwise been occupied by the mobile application.
Do companies need to have a different team to maintain a PWA and TWA?
Not really. It actually means that the companies no longer need to maintain separate parallel teams if they are using PWAs. PWAs eliminate the necessity to develop different websites and applications for different platforms as all the changes can be implemented in one place.
Is TWA supported on other app stores given the fact that it is a Google solution?
TWA was created to run on Android, but the PWA standard is widely supported by other organizations like Adobe, Microsoft, Mozilla, etc.
Other technologies like Apache Cordova also supports PWAs. Cordova creates a container housing a PWA application which can be offered in Apple AppStore and various other places.
iOS supports PWA. The Safari browser can already support PWA applications. However, one thing that needs to be kept in mind, that Apple’s rules and regulations for both native apps and PWAs include provisions to ensure the full discretion of the App Store administrative team to decide which applications can be put in the store.
Will developing web applications narrow down the market to just mobile customers?
PWA applications not only work on mobiles but also work well on large screens. The functionalities remain the same on mobile as well as desktop.
PWAs are developed for the mobile-first as the applications and websites can adjust more easily to bigger devices and retain full functionality and visual consistency. The opposite isn’t true though as downsizing desktop applications can cause problems.
Thus we can see how PWAs and TWAs are the main trends nowadays in developing applications. It takes the mobile experience to a different level by combining the best features of applications and websites.
The various advantages like faster development process, lower production costs, and easy maintenance allow companies and businesses to focus better on satisfying the customer needs.