Progressive Web Apps, part 1

If you’ve been tuned in lately to what’s next on the web, there’s been a lot of talk (from Google especially) pushing progressive web apps, or PWAs,  as the next evolution of web apps. As a HackerNews addict and also as a front-end engineer who’s obligated to feign knowledge over every single thing popping up on the web, I can say that PWAs have been on my radar for some time, but it’s never intrigued me enough to investigate it… until now. At Google’s I/O 2017 conference this year, they featured multiple presentations over the current capabilities of progressive web apps, and after watching a couple, I felt compelled to learn more about what it had to offer and if it was indeed a new paradigm worth pursuing.

Some unbaked initial thoughts in my head before I dive in:

  1. What are the forces behind Google pushing so hard for PWAs to take over? Are they trying to displace Apple’s App Store market share or is this a pure & altruistic “for the betterment of the web” movement?
  2. Related to #1, why is touted as the new web standard when iOS is clearly not on the same page? All examples–and maybe I’m wrong here–only show PWAs working seamlessly on Android w/ Chrome. Are other permutations of mobile OSes and browsers supporting this movement?
  3. Lastly, are PWAs merely fancy bookmarks in the form of app icons? What are the benefits for the consumer? For developers?

I’ll explore these topics in detail in a subsequent post. Stay tuned…