Website Vs. Progressive Web Application: Which is Better for You?

Published on:
July 28, 2022

What do you prefer more? Would you choose an impressive web application that introduces a more personalized approach or a simple website that showcases their products and makes services more accessible for you? Choosing between a website and a progressive web application feels like choosing between a packet of chips and biscuits. While it seems they serve the same purpose, there's more to it.

progressive web application or website; What’s better?
progressive web application or website; What’s better?

When you look at definitions of each term, they sound similar and often overlap. Both runs in browsers that require the internet for access need the same programming languages for front-end and backend and still are arguably very different. We know explanations make it trickier for you. So, let us understand the difference better. 

With the increasing percentage of mobile users, Responsive design is the first logical step that the developers focus on while making a website. It also became necessary for the designers to add stellar digital experiences to their website, and this thing is embraced by almost 87.5% of website creators.

Mobile presence is significant for a business that doesn’t want to lose many potential customers. Also, according to stats, more than 54% of the sales will happen through mobile instead of traditional websites available in the market.

So, in this blog, MarsDevs introduces you to the realm of websites and advanced web applications so you can choose one of these two for yourself. Making the right choice can save you tons of money that you would have to spend on the redevelopment process otherwise. So, let us dive right into it. 

What do we know about a website?

Website development process
Website development process

A website is a collection of many interlinked web pages written using HTML, CSS, and Javascript (traditionally), and this collection of web pages share a single domain name.

A responsive website is a must for an e-commerce company that doesn't want to lose potential customers.

 Responsive websites are websites that fit on any screen size, according to the device on which it is used. These are called responsive due to this characteristic of being feasible to use on variable screen sizes.

According to data analysis, 61% of users won't stay on a website if it's not user-friendly. Also, a significant chunk of the user base, around 68%, tends to order products online through a mobile-optimized website(responsive websites).

Simply put, groups of globally accessible and interlinked web pages are available on the internet. We call them websites. An individual, business, or organization can develop and manage these websites. 

There is usually an aim linked to the website. For example, this blog that MarsDevs presents aims to help you understand the difference between websites and advanced web applications. 

Depending on the requirements, you can host a website on single or multiple web servers. Anyone can access it via the internet networks or IP addresses. 

Characteristics of a website include:

  • Quality web content is showcased adequately.
  • You can search them using search engines. 
  • You can easily navigate the site.   

Then, what do we mean by a progressive web application?

progressive web application development
progressive web application development

A progressive web application is a software. It is a program that you can access using any browser. You can develop the front-end using programming languages like JavaScript, HTML, CSS, etc. Primary servers support these programming languages. You can build the backend using stacks like MEAN. When you develop a progressive web application, you will not come according to any specific Software Development Kit(SDK), unlike a mobile application.

In simple words, these are applications built using the same technologies like HTML, CSS, and JAVASCRIPT, with the same feel and functionality as any native app.

A native app is a software program developed for use on a particular platform or device, for example, Android or iOS.

In addition to this information, you should know that the Software as a Service (SAAS) movement introduced advanced web applications to our lives. 

Characteristics of a progressive web application would include:

  • Progressive web applications are cloud hosted.
  • They are loosely coupled and modular as well.
  • These applications are highly scalable.
  • You can test them quickly with automated tests. 

Why would you need a website?

Website for business
Website for business

Everyone would vote that you must have a website. While we win by majority, why exactly do you need it?

  • The website makes it easier for you to showcase your products and services.
  • Websites can help you get started with branding too.
  • When you develop your website, it acts as social proof to an enormous extent.
  • Websites help you achieve your business goals faster as your users now know where to find your products showcased.
  • You can get better with customer support when you use a website.

Websites are primarily used:

  • To provide information and services, any organization or business would build a website with a unique domain name that would help their clients get various information about their work and other stuff.
  • As a medium of entertainment, websites are built to play various kinds of games and also experience other things like listening to music, watching movies, and so on.
  • Sell and buy things online. AMAZON is an excellent example of such a platform explaining the whole point.

Why do you need a progressive web application?

progressive web application necessity
progressive web application necessity

Progressive web applications are prevalent. Most businesses now have an impressive progressive web application that helps them scale faster. But, if you must get them, what are the reasons behind getting a progressive web application?

  • Developers use the same code throughout the application. Thus, progressive web applications are easy to maintain with no compatibility issues. 
  • You do not need any approval from the App Store for a progressive web application.
  • These applications are cost-efficient and are great to start with. 
  • You can access the data through mobile as well.
  • They're internet-enabled. So you do not have to download the application to be able to access them. You can access them through the mobile's web browser as well.

Why do you need to know about Progressive Web Application or PWA? Why and how is PWA better than any normal website?

A study shows that, on average, an application loses approximately 20% of its users between the time a user comes to know about the app. Also, by the time the user first uses the application, i.e., the steps of going to the play store, finding the application on it, downloading it, installing it, and finally using it. But with the use of PWAs, the steps of searching, downloading, and installing are eliminated, and this would ultimately prompt the user to install the app and upgrade their experience.

Also, with the push notification feature, you can retain three times more users compared to the platforms with no push notification feature. A user is more likely to open the application than the website.

Hence with most of the features of a mobile application, using PWAs would lead to more user retention and improved performance without much hustle of building an application. Instead, you can focus on delivering better UX.

Mobile market share accounts for 54.98%, making the mobile-first approach much more accurate than ever; hence PWA can be used and developed with cheaper development costs. 

Who is already using Pwa?

  • Twitter
  • Pinterest 
  • Uber
  • Tiktok
  • Spotify

Google and Microsoft are the big players in the PWA technologies. PWA is now compatible with all android devices, and next-generation apps like Outlook and Teams, which Microsoft is building, are being constructed as PWA. Apple also provides immense support for PWA, which will ship in Safari 11.1 and iOS 11.3.

Characteristics of PWA:

  • Progressive in nature, a PWA works for every user irrespective of their browser choice because these PWAs are built with progressive enhancement as a core creed.
  • Responsive to use on any device like a tablet, mobile, desktop, or anything which may come next.
  • Connectivity is independent, as PWAs are enhanced to work offline or on low-quality networks with the help of Service Workers(we will talk about them later on the blog too).
  • App-like, as app-shell, is used to provide a native app-style experience.
  • Fresh, due to the Service Worker update process, things are always up-to-date.
  • Users can easily share clickable URLs, and it doesn't involve complex installation.

Getting started with PWA development:

PWA development
PWA development

Getting started with PWA development doesn't need many things. You only need a few things, and then you are good.

  1. Focussing on TOOLs, AngularJS is the best-known technology for developing PWA. ReactJS and Polymer also come under the development tools for PWA. VueJS is catching up as well. 
  2. Having an HTTPS connection would help ensure the user's data is secure. It adds an extra layer of security to the platform.
  3. SERVICE WORKERs is one of the most significant technologies behind PWAs. 

            Features for which Service Worker is used:

  • Basic features:

One of the most common uses of Service Worker is to handle cached content. You can check out Google Chrome Documentation or Mozilla.

  1. One of the most important features we get from Service workers is Offline Functionality.
  • Intermediate features:
  1. Including the Push Notification feature makes the whole experience more engaging, and we have seen the stats proving the statement.
  2. The interaction between a Service Worker and cache comes with two different caching concepts: Precaching and Runtime caching. With these concepts, the overall experience and performance of the platform are increased.
  3. With more new users, you can code to make the new users fetch the cached content and app cache rather than using the traditional browser caching in which GET requests are used.
  • Advanced features:
  1. There have been multiple use cases in the real world where Service Worker is used as Load Balancer, although it is not the best suited for the job.
  2. Background Synchronization is a feature that is useful when there is a network issue, and the user doesn't have to wait until the time the network is back. They can do the thing, and the feature would initiate the task in the background, and as the network issue is resolved, the task would get completed without any hassle. This feature can be implemented using Service Worker.
  3. Along with running background tasks, other native-app-like features like geo-fencing can also be implemented using Service Worker.  

Turning a website into PWA:

In short, we would see the requirements for converting a website into a PWA:

  1. Any device that runs Chrome 52 or above.
  2. Basic understanding of Git and Chrome DevTools.
  3. Sample code.
  4. Text editor.

More about PWA:

PWAs are just like regular web pages, which means they are browsable on internet browsers. However, they also provide features identical to those offered by mobile apps: they are fast, can work offline, send push notifications, and use the features of user devices. PWAs can be uploaded to popular app marketplaces like AppStore and Google Play.

The trial: Website Vs. progressive web application. 

Website vs application
Website vs application

A website establishes your presence on the internet. It is publicly accessible to all your viewers. You can showcase your products and services to your users through your website. Websites mostly have static content. On the other hand, a progressive web application's sole purpose is interaction with the end user. 
Software- Type:

A website is a complete product. You can access them with the help of your browser anytime you want. However, progressive web applications are one part of the whole website. It can not be considered a complete website. 
User Experience and Interaction.

You would get visual and text content from a website. It can help users view and read without affecting its working. However, progressive web applications allow users to manipulate restricted data to customize the experiences.  

While the website is not pre-compiled, the progressive web application requires the site to be pre-compiled before deployment.  
If you want an informational website, authentication is not compulsory. For regular updates or additional features, the user has to register. In contrast, authentication is mandatory for a progressive web application. They offer much more possibilities than a website. 

Websites showcase the data and information only on a specific page. However, progressive web applications function better and are complex when compared to a website. 

If you want to make a small change to your static website, you do not need to go through a complete recompilation. Updating the HTML code is enough. With the changes in your progressive web applications, you need to recompile the entire project and deploy the changes. 

Disadvantages of websites and progressive web applications

Website vs progressive web app development
Website vs progressive web app development

A website can crash, instigating a considerable loss for your business. Secondly, when you publish a contact form on the website, you might often get exposed to spam e-mails. And last but not least, your website can seem unreliable with a regular update.

For a progressive web application, the scenario is different. It might not support multiple browsers and present a limited scope of access to the features. An essential point of disappointment is the difficulty of an application's discovery from the App Store.

The Verdict: Website Vs. progressive web application; Which is better for you?

It is unfortunate, but we have to repeat the cliches. All the cliches are indeed true. Every single big or small decision depends on your business needs. Define your goals, prepare a checklist, and then decide which one to develop before you hire a specialist. You should be able to serve your customers better. 

So, running thorough user-centric research is best before you decide on one. It makes you understand what works with your user base and what the next step should be now.

Build the best website or progressive web application with MarsDevs.

MarsDevs helps you be more creative, try more efficient systems, and play the long-term game. We know how to do it differently and still be relevant. So, our collaboration can help you understand what your business needs at the moment. While a tech co-founder enables you to understand the processes better, it should not stop you from starting.

MarsDevs is a one-stop development shop that takes care of all your tech needs and makes your business more efficient. We also help you with expert consultancy to know if you get off track. And that's not it. We have a team of dedicated experts to develop, manage, and deploy applications while you focus on scaling the business. We know it already sounds unbelievable. But in this list of incredible truths, we would like to add one more. MarsDevs is affordable too.

So, instead of waiting and worrying about what's next. Get ready with your tech requirements and get on a call with us. We will discuss possibilities and expertise while you present the plan. Let us know about your project, and let's get going then. What do you say?

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