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Progressive Web Applications (PWA)is the bridge between mobile and web applications. They are built upon using standard web technologies. JavaScript, HTML and CSS are used to provide an app-like experience to the user. eCommerce businesses favor PWAs due to their app-like user experience, offline features and high-performance capabilities.

Key Features of PWAs

  • Reliable and work offline. Great when the network is unpredictable.
  • User experience similar to native apps.
  • No download required from a play or app store.
  • Fast, very responsive and do not occupy larger memory space.
  • Economical vs their native app cousins. Reduction in development and maintenance costs.
  • Platform independent. Compatible with multiple differing operating systems and device browsers.

Native mobile applications (a.k.a. Native apps) have already proved themselves to be great to work with. Developers have access to low level hardware that is not available in PWA. They’ve been largely developed for Android and iOS platforms and make use of Java for Android, Swift for iOS and C# for Windows systems.

Key Features of Native Apps

  • Easily integrated with mobile device hardware and software – Bluetooth, camera WiFi etc.
  • Uses built-in features like GPS, Camera, Sensor.
  • Auto memory management.
  • Auto-updates makes it more secure.
  • Play store offers variations of mobile applications easily discoverable.

So, PWA or Native apps?

PWAs are great for small businesses who look for a fast go-to-market solution that is easier on the budget. For those new to online presence, PWAs can help save on development time and cost. They’ve proven themselves very useful for some well-established businesses as well (Starbucks, Twitter, Pinterest, Trivago to name a few). If the goal is to publish outside the various app stores, then PWA is definitely the way to go.

Native apps on the other hand should not be ruled out so fast. PWAs cannot take advantage of device features nor can it surpass the high performance and security offered by native app development solutions. News publishers, blog sites, B2B eCommerce companies are a few whose best interest is in adopting Native application development.