Introduction to Progressive Web Apps

A progressive web app (PWA) is developed using modern web technologies to make it feel like a native app.

Websites are opened in browsers, which are installed on devices (mobile, desktop, etc). Each of these devices has its native apps, which receive full hardware access and other system-level features offered by that particular device. So, from the beginning, there is a distinction between web and native apps. Web apps are featured on the device (in browsers) but never feel like its part. Therefore, building progressive web apps reduces the gap between web apps and native apps.

The core features of progressive web apps

Let’s understand progressive web apps in detail by discussing some of their core features.


Users can install a progressive web app on their devices and access it from their home screen. The web app opens as a stand-alone app, not inside the browser.

Why are installable web apps essential?

Let’s think about how we use our smartphones. Each icon on our home screen represents an application, and tapping on one opens the relevant application.

Typing the URLs or managing bookmarks is one of the possible ways to open web applications quickly. On the other hand, installing an app reduces users’ friction because they don’t have to reach out to the browser every time. The home screen icon also helps improve the interaction.

Progressive enhancement

PWAs are built with the philosophy of progressive enhancement. But what does that imply?

Progressive enhancement means enhancing a web app progressively. A PWA ensures its core experience is usable even when the user is on an old browser. Besides this, a PWA benefits from the latest features provided by the web platform to enhance the experience of the users whose browsers support these features.

There are many resourceful APIs offered on the Web today. The Clipboard API is an excellent example of progressive enhancement, which can be used in apps that require rich content editing.

Native app-like feel

Installing a web app on a user’s device is useful, but if it can’t run offline, it won’t feel like a native app. PWAs are built to run even when the user doesn’t have a stable internet connection.

Besides this offline advantage, PWAs have many features that make the web app feel more like a native app. Their other features include sending push notifications and syncing user data in the background.