Listof AbbreviationsAPI: Application Programming InterfaceHTTPS: Hypertext Transfer ProtocolSecureIOS: iPhone Operating SystemJSON: JavaScript Object NotationPWA: Progressive Web ApplicationsURL:   Uniform Resource Locator   IntroductionA PWA is a web application that is enhanced with some technologiesthat allow for native-like behavior in a mobile device, while still functioningin a desktop browser. PWAs are initially served from a remote web serversimilar to mobile web applications, but can when visited through a browserapplication be installed on devices as well.

Another core feature they have isthat they can be used regardless of network availability with the help ofservice workers that, among other things, enables caching and preloadingresources. PWAs aim to bridge the gap in user experience between web andnative/hybrid applications. It can be added and launched from the home screenand should load instantly, regardless of the network connection. This ispossible with the help of Service Workers, a JavaScript Worker that allows cachingcontent for offline access and for push notifications.Progressive Web applications are meant to provide theusers with the same or even a better experience than a platform-specificapplication would. The key principle is following the idea of progressiveenhancement, which effectively means utilizing APIs and features even thoughthey do not have a 100% support across browsers, but not relying on them forthe core functionality of an application.

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Many companies are facing the problemof developing different applications for different platforms. They often needto develop two mobile applications, one for iOS and one for Android. On top ofthat, they need a web application that works well on both a desktop and amobile device (Cordova, 2015). Web applicationsare somewhat limited today when compared to native mobile applications, but aremoving forward all the time. The challenge however is that progressive webapplications are yet to be included in the application market places wherepeople search for new applications. This can be mitigated by creating a newapplication market place for PWAs such as PWA rocks or by packing the PWA intoa native application using an automated tool that extracts all information fromthe web app manifest.

Specifically, Windows App Studio or a tool called PWAifycomes in handy in such a case. Jacob Rossi from Microsoft has stated that he”expects PWAs to be listed in the Microsoft store right alongside nativeapplication in the future. It is against this background that this paper soughsto establish the impact of progressive web applications in development ofmobile applications. Requirements for a PWAA progressive application has three requirements thatneed to be fulfilled. Firstly, it needs to be served over HTTPS. HypertextTransfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) denotes a protocol where http pages are sentwith an encrypting transport layer security (Zayas-Cabán, 2010).

Transport layer security improves thesecurity of transferring web pages over a computer network such as the internetby preventing man-in-the middle attacks. Man-in-the-middle attacks can beachieved by someone spoofing the identity to act as intended receiver betweentwo communication parties. Secondly, PWA also requires web applicationmanifest. A web application manifest is a JSON-based document for specifyingmetadata about a web application (Thompson, 2004).With manifest files developers are ableto specify if a web application should be opened in full screen mode, have acustom color at the address bar and set which icons it should use when saved ondevices’ home screens. Thirdly, PWAs require service workers which are client-sideproxies between a web page, browser and if available a network (Abaidoo, 2014)Service workersconsist of JavaScript files with event-driven scripts that can be executed inthe background of a web page. Service worker can do some predefined actionssuch as caching and preloading resources and returning custom responses torequests.Methodology2.

0MethodIn this chapter there will be adescription of the scientific method that was used in order to answer thequestion on the impact of progressive web applications in development of mobileapplications.2.1Scientific ApproachA qualitative literature study was made. This decisionwas made to find out what a web application, specifically a progressive one,can do today in terms of native-like behavior. The review was undertaken todetermine if a PWA can match a native application in terms of response timewhen accessing hardware.2.2Method DescriptionA search was made with a set ofkeywords: Progressive Web Applications, access hardware.

The informationgathered from the search results was summarized. The focus of the study was onAlibaba.com which the largest online business-to-business trading platformwhich serves over 200 countries and regions. There is also focus on Konga whichis a leading e-commerce website in Nigeria, selling everything from books tofridges to mobile phones. Mobile devices provide the largest source of trafficand user growth.2.2.

1Progressive Web ApplicationsThe applications containing thePWA benchmarks were written in the JavaScript programming language with thehelp of the React library. Visual Studio Code was the development environmentof choice for developing the applications.LiteraturereviewThe mobile Web is becoming ever more capable ofaccessing and handling features previously only available in native andcross-platform apps. With the advent of Progressive Web applications, regularWeb sites can to a larger extent than before act, feel and look as any otherinstalled application specifically on an android based mobile device (LePage, 2017)This is enabledthrough a set of new concepts and requirements, advocated by Google aswell-worth implementation efforts (Majchrzak, January,2018).Precisely, a PWA isany website implementing certain speci?c technical features making it possiblefor it to be added to the home screen of a user’s device and used of?ine.

Itlooks like a regular app although being run inside a stripped-down Chrome browser,which hides all its interface artifacts.PWA is different from regular web sites and native orcross-platform mobile applications due to its added functionality and userexperience (LePage, 2017).For instance, a regular websiterequires the user to open a browser, type in a URL and wait for all content tobe downloaded on every visit, effectively preventing an offline experience, aPWA only requires these steps for the first visit. After a home screeninstallation, all necessary static ?les, including HTML, JavaScript, images andfonts for the Web site, are now stored on the user’s phone, ready to be usedof?ine (Google Developers, 2017).

All dynamic data canbe cached for of?ine (or low-connectivity) use, and re-fetched when needed,e.g. when new data is available and the phone is on a decent networkconnection. Where a regular Web site would be wrapped in a browser (e.g.

ChromeAndroid) with visible browser artifacts (such as address bar and menus), a PWAwill similarly run in a browser instance, but with those artifacts (LePage, 2017).Thus, a PWA willlook similar to a regular app. If a PWA is styled correctly, following thedesign guidelines of each mobile platform, telling apart a regular native orcross-platform app and a PWA from the appearance would be challenging.Practitioners and the industry continue to put effortsin implementing PWA characteristics into their websites though little progresswithin the academia has been recorded. The academic contributions identi?ed arefew in number. (Malavolta et al, May,2017) Makes an interestingcontribution discussing energy ef?ciency of Progressive Web Apps, and theenergy impact of Service Workers. Their research revolves around measuring theenergy consumption using different devices and scenarios.

Further research hasalso shown that progressive enhancements improve the load times in single pageweb applications. Techniques such as code splitting improve page loads andtogether with offline caching of content with service workers make a PWA loadfaster even on flaky connections. (Charkaoui, 2014)Providedan insight into cross-platform development of mobile applications in theirpaper Cross-platform mobile development approaches, where ? JavaScript frameworks were one of the approachesdiscussed (Cordova, 2017).The web has moved forwardsince this paper was published. For example, it states that a web applicationcannot access the Device API of a mobile device, which is not true, anymore (Heitkötter, April,2012).Some features areavailable to a web application today, such as camera, recording media and fileaccess. This makes this research interesting today.According to (Archibald MacLeish, 2016) (Cordova, 2015)(2016), “Web apps are cheaper to developand deploy than native apps”.

In their paper ? Mobile Application Development: Web vs. Native from 2011, theystate the not so controversial fact that native applications are fasterand have better user experience than web applications on mobile devices. Theyfurther talk about PhoneGap, a  frameworkfor building native mobile applications with web technologies, and how it havebridged the native and web environments, allowing web applications to live in anative environment. The rundown is that the web has not achieved the level ofperformance that native code provides, but it is getting close, giving theexample of Quake 3 running in the browser (Archibald, 2016).In 2016 Jan Steczko wrote a thesis about companiesexperiences with cross platform development compared to native development formobile devices.

Steczko interviewed 13 businesses in order to answer hisproblem. The paper concludes that the companies preferred native developmentand that the advantages are stronger for native development. The companiesthought that  native applications werefaster and could provide better user experience, and  this compensates for the fact that creatingtwo different applications for the mobile and the web are more expensive inboth time and money. But the companies did also know that they could createcross-platform applications with lower cost and the development of theseapplications would be faster and simpler. According to Steczko’s research, thechoice between these two application strategies depended on several factors.For example, complexity of the application, budget or quality (Roy-Chowdhury, 2017)Findingsand ObservationsLarge companies and key players inthe mobile-Web space have already started converting their existing Web apps toPWAs with great success.

This includes Alibaba and Konga both leading companieswithin their ?elds. Below is a case study of Alibaba with progressive webapplication. Alibaba.com increases conversions on the mobile web by 76% with Progressive Web App Introduction Alibaba.com is the world’s largest online business-to-business (B2B) trading platform, serving 200+ countries and regions. After upgrading their site to a Progressive Web App (PWA), they saw a 76 percent increase in total conversions across browsers.

Challenges Building great mobile experiences is an indispensable part of Alibaba. com’s success. The mobile web is their primary platform for discovery on mobile, so they’ve always focused on design and functionality. They found it difficult to build an engaging experience for the mobile web, however. They looked at the mobile web as a platform to shift non-app users to the app, but many preferred to stay within a browser. “Users consider having to download an app to browse or complete a transaction an unnecessary barrier, compared to the quick, easy solution of browsing directly from their mobile browser” says Zou Yu, director of Alibaba.

com’s mobile team. Solution Alibaba.com recognized that to build an effective mobile presence, they needed to understand how two different user segments—native app users and mobile web users—interacted with their business. They wanted to deliver a great user experience for both first-time visitors (in the hopes of re-engaging them) and repeat visitors (who are more loyal to the site). Alibaba.

com built a PWA that led to a fast, effective, and reliable mobile web experience. The new strategy delivered a 76 percent increase in total conversions across browsers. (A conversion corresponds to visits that result in direct contact with a supplier.) For mobile web users on Android, Alibaba.com integrated features that helped users re-engage with the site. The company implemented an “Add to Home Screen” prompt, which resulted in users re-engaging four times more often than other mobile users.

They also noticed that re-engagement on the web was comparable to that of their native app. For push notifications, the open rate on the mobile web is the same as that on the native app. The new strategy also delivered a much better user experience across platforms. The investment in the mobile web increased monthly active user rates on iOS by 14 percent. On Android devices where re-engagement Capabilities like push notifications and Add to Home Screen were enabled, active user rates increased by 30 percent. ” Delivering a mobile-first, user-centric mobile site that harnesses the best of the native app, with all the accessibility and versatility of the mobile web, is key to maintaining our competitive edge and the path to better conversions,” Zou Yu says.

          Konga cuts data usage 92% with new Progressive Web App Company Launched in 2012, Konga is a leading e-commerce website in Nigeria, selling everything from books to fridges to mobile phones. Mobile devices provide the largest source of traffic and user growth. Challenge Africa is a uniquely mobile continent. Unlike many other parts of the world, Internet use leapfrogged over desktop to mobile.

Poor connectivity, the prevalence of low-end devices, and several other obstacles hindered Konga’s ability to grow. They developed a native app, so users on mobile could work offline and re-engage. The cost of Internet access is still high, however, while per-capita income is relatively very low. Current and potential customers are very data-sensitive, and many hesitated to use data or space to download Konga’s native app. Solution Konga wanted to provide all of their web users with the benefits of their app, including performance, the ability to work offline, and re-engage without the data cost.

They built a Progressive Web App to leverage new, open web APIs and offer a mobile web experience that is fast, uses less data, and re-engages users in multiple ways. With nearly two-thirds of Nigerian users reaching the Internet via 2G networks, a fast user experience was essential. To decrease load times, Konga added service workers and streamlined the site to help consumers quickly reach the products they’re looking for. Users can continue to browse categories, review previous searches, and even check out by calling to order—all while offline. Tracking data usage to initial load and to complete first transaction were two key measurements for Konga.

Compared with their native app, their Progressive Web App uses 92% less data for initial load and 82% less data to complete the first transaction. Also, when compared to their previous mobile web site, the new experience uses 63% less data for initial load and 84% less data to complete first transaction. “We estimate that with our new light, super-fast, UX-rich browsing capability, customers’ data consumption will fall dramatically,” says Shola Adekoya, Konga.

com CEO.           Source: (Developers, 2017))  ObservationsFrom the case study of Alibaba.com it is evident thatprogressive web application has led to Alibaba.

com built a PWA that led to afast, effective, and reliable mobile web experience. The new strategy delivereda 76 percent increase in total conversions across browsers. For mobile webusers on Android, Alibaba.com integrated features that helped users re-engagewith the site. The company implemented an “Add to Home Screen” prompt, which resulted in usersreengaging four times more often than other mobile users.

They also noticedthat re-engagement on the web was comparable to that of their native app. Forpush notifications, the open rate on the mobile web is the same as that on thenative app.For Konga, they built a Progressive WebApp to leverage new, open web APIs and offer a mobile web experience that isfast, uses less data, and re-engages users in multiple ways. Konga added service workers and streamlinedthe site to help consumers quickly reach the products they’re looking for.

Users can continue to browse categories, review previous searches, and evencheck out by calling to order all while offline. Also, when compared to their previous mobileweb site, the new experience uses 63% less data for initial load and 84% lessdata to complete first transaction.        RecommendationsProgressive Web Application PWA has led to a fast,effective, and reliable mobile web experience than a Native Android Application. There is thereforeneed for developers to engage with PWA since it is catching up with nativeapplications on mobile devices. More research is needed on this topic. There isneed for more extensive testing since the Android eco system of mobile devicesis a wide landscape.Moreover, including iOS in futureresearch like this one could also be a good choice. Even though iOS does notsupport many of the features that make up a PWA such as offline support and theability to add it to the home screen.

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