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What are Progressive Web Apps and How to Build Them

In the battle for mindshare between mobile apps and the mobile web, there’s no doubt that mobile apps have come out on top. But that is changing, according to a report from Gartner, Progressive Web Apps Will Impact Your Mobile App Strategy. The future, Gartner says, is with an emerging type of web page, called a Progressive Web App (PWA). PWAs, Gartner says, “use the latest browser technologies to meld the accessibility of the web with the presence of the mobile app.” They bring “applike characteristics to websites without requiring the consumer to download a full app.”

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In the battle for mindshare between mobile apps and the mobile web, mobile apps have come out on top, but a recent report shows that's changing. Read why.

Here’s why PWAs are important, and how to deploy them in your enterprise, according to the report.

The report warns that “The pace of app downloads is slowing down in most consumer markets around the globe, especially where mobile device adoption is mature.” That’s because of “app fatigue,” in which “users are overwhelmed by the number of apps and hit a ceiling on the number of apps that they are willing to install on their devices.” As a result of this, Gartner projects, by 2020, “progressive web apps will have replaced 50% of general-purpose, consumer-facing mobile apps.”

That means enterprises need to re-evaluate their mobile strategies. Gartner says that PWAs are especially useful when companies want to reach occasional users of their website rather than their most loyal users. They’re especially useful for retailers, in which only 10% to 15% of customers will download a mobile app. But other types of businesses can benefit as well.

For example, Gartner notes that, the world’s largest online B2B trading platform saw a 76% increase in conversions after upgrading its site to a PWA. converted its site to a PWA – and saw an 80% speed bump in page load time, and nearly 1 million customers opting in to receive web notifications.

But Gartner warns that companies need to re-think their websites from scratch when converting to a PWA. “Designers need to think about a PWA site in more of an app-oriented experience context,” the report says. That means including touch and gesture-based controls, having push notifications, and considering the offline experience when designing them.

Finally, the report says that companies should take a hard look at their existing mobile apps, and should “Sunset mobile apps that don’t make use of native device features that support mobile-first experiences, and replace with equivalent PWAs to reduce costs.” It adds, though, that mobile app initiatives shouldn’t be halted entire, particularly if iOS is important to your business.

Read the Gartner report Progressive Web Apps Will Impact Your Mobile App Strategy.

Alpha Anywhere lets you prototype and build both web apps and mobile apps fast, including Enterprise-grade security, data integration, user experience and built-in offline capability.

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About Author

Amy Groden-Morrison
Amy Groden-Morrison

Amy Groden-Morrison has served more than 15 years in marketing communications leadership roles at companies such as TIBCO Software, RSA Security and Ziff-Davis. Most recently she was responsible for developing marketing programs that helped achieve 30%+ annual growth rate for analytics products at a $1Bil, NASDAQ-listed business integration Software Company. Her past accomplishments include establishing the first co-branded technology program with CNN, launching an events company on the NYSE, rebranding a NASDAQ-listed company amid a crisis, and positioning and marketing a Boston-area startup for successful acquisition. Amy currently serves as a Healthbox Accelerator Program Mentor, Marketing Committee Lead for the MIT Enterprise Forum of Cambridge Launch Smart Clinics, and on the organizing team for Boston TechJam. She holds an MBA from Northeastern University.

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The Alpha platform is the only unified mobile and web app development and deployment environment with distinct “no-code” and “low-code” components. Using the Alpha TransForm no-code product, business users and developers can take full advantage of all the capabilities of the smartphone to turn any form into a mobile app in minutes, and power users can add advanced app functionality with Alpha TransForm's built-in programming language. IT developers can use the Alpha Anywhere low-code environment to develop complex web or mobile business apps from scratch, integrate data with existing systems of record and workflows (including data collected via Alpha TransForm), and add additional security or authentication requirements to protect corporate data.