Progressive Web Apps: The Bridge Between Native and Web Apps

If you follow development trends you will have most likely heard a lot about Progressive Web Apps. You may be wondering what exactly one is, and why you would implement it over a traditional Responsive Website or even a Native Application. In this article, we will try to answer those questions for you.

In this day and age, Mobile and Web apps are core components in successfully engaging the users of your site. On average, 50% of internet browsing is done on some kind of mobile device. If your site is not optimized or accessible for all screen sizes, you are going to miss out on plenty of potential visitors/business. Customers interact with your business using these apps and you, in turn, collect this data for analytical use to improve their experience and hopefully increase your own revenue. Not long ago, Google unveiled a new concept to help improve these online engagements. This concept is what we refer to as Progressive Web Apps.

Progressive Web Apps are the next upgrade that blend traditional web apps with native apps. Meaning you will create a web app which will have the appearance and functionality of a native web app user experience. For example, a Progressive Web App will offer features such as:

  • Offline Accessibility
    • In areas with limited wireless connectivity, websites can be limited on how they are displayed. With Progressive Web App’s offline mode any information can be stored automatically during the users last session. This offline page is also not limited on what can be incorporated into it. Things such as: logos, content and advanced features can be stored in the apps offline mode. This increased access furthers the engagement and availability of the app greatly.
  • Improved Performance
    • The underlying technology that is implemented with Progressive Web Apps that enables it to cache and serve objects such as text, stylesheets, images and other content. As a result, this leads to greater performance out of these apps. User experience and retention rates benefit from this improved performance.
  • No Dependence on App Stores
    • Compared to mobile applications, Progressive Web Apps are not routed through a service such as Google Plat or the App Store, but instead directly downloading the app onto their device. Progressive Web App’s get their own icon on these devices, but the developer does not have to go through the arduous App Store submission process. Developers are also free to push out updates without having to wait for approval.
  • Hardware Features
    • Progressive Web Apps also let the developer implement useful features into their apps, such as push notifications. Developers are given complete control over how these features get implemented into the apps, which can lead to new and creative solutions.

Not everything about Progressive Web Apps is great however. A few drawbacks of this technology include:

  • Progressive Web Apps cannot interact with the hardware of the device that is accessing the app. So, for example, a Progressive Web App is unable to include things such as: sensors, LED lights, etc. If you are wanting your app to include these hardware tie-ins, a Progressive Web App would not be the right choice.
  • Progressive Web Apps are quite limited on the actual functionality they can perform when compared to Native and Web Apps.
  • Progressive Web Apps are not great at heavy processing
  • The compatibility with Apple devices is not perfected yet.

Hopefully you now have a better grip on what a Progressive Web App entails and why you should look into implementing one for your next project. Next, we will quickly go over the Pros and Cons of other App types.

Native App


  • Extensive libraries available for solving common development tasks/problems. This can help speed up the development process.
  • Overall good performance and user experience on all mobile platforms.
  • App is able to access all of the device’s hardware, so long as it is allowed by the manufacturer.
  • Ability to work offline and store data locally on connecting device.


  • Development costs tend to be higher.
  • Due to each app store having different guidelines and technology – a developer will usually need to create a separate version for both Android and iOS.
  • The cost of updating and maintaining native apps tends to be higher. Especially if the app is supported on more than one platform.
  • App approval process is long and tedious for the developer.

Web Apps


  • Easy and cheap to maintain. Code is the same across all platforms.
  • Web apps can be manipulated in a way that allows them to be compatible with any older mobile device.
  • No approval from App Stores necessary.


  • Web Apps make it more difficult to track usage patterns and provide support on all mobile browsers.
  • Providing one App that works the exact same on every single browser can prove to be an expensive proposition for developers.
  • Since Web Apps are not listed in any App Store, it can prove difficult for users to find them.
  • Web Apps provide no quality control. There is no guarantee that a user is accessing an app that is secure.

If you are interested in making your current site responsive for creating a Progressive Web App, call Lee Media Group today at (316) 239-6466 or send us an email.