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What are progressive web applications and which are the best

26 mayo, 2021

A progressive web application is halfway between a ‘regular’ app, one that needs to be installed on the device, and a web that runs within the browser. The Progressive web apps save space, can be used on any Android and they facilitate the use of platforms that may not have a ‘common’ application. They should be taken into account.

In Android there are many ways to install an application. From Google Play, through an alternative store, such as APK and, even, it is also possible use apps without installing anything: there are the ‘instant apps’ or instant applications. In addition, there is another simple option when using third-party software: progressive web applications or PWA (‘Progressive Web Apps’). They hardly need installation and provide notable advantages with little inconvenience.

Progressive web apps save space

Progressive Web Applications

The apps that concern us maintain the structure of an application despite being web-based. They are executed thanks to the browser, but they are not a mere shortcut: when you download them to the phone they actually install, always with less space than the same application would require if it were downloaded from Google Play. And they can work without an Internet connection, another detail that reinforces their great potential.

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Progressive web applications use the browser’s notification service, they can work in the background like a ‘normal’ app, they also offer most of their functionalities despite being web-based. Of course, they tend to cut options; so that a progressive web application is usually not as complete as the one downloaded from the store.

A progressive web application reduces space and can function without internet access

The applications in question are valid for any Android as long as they use a browser suitable for progressive web applications. Google Chrome is 100% compatible, too most of which are based on Chromium (Brave or Samsung’s browser, for example). They are also compatible with Firefox and Opera for Android: having any of these browsers installed on your mobile opens the door to PWAs.

How to install progressive web applications

Progressive Web Applications Progressive web applications adapt to all types of screens and can be installed on both mobile phones and computers

Although progressive web applications are installed, thereby occupying some space on the phone, there is no need to go through the installation process as such since its download to the mobile is much simpler. In fact, you only need to perform three steps:

  • Open your mobile browser. Remember that must be compatible with PWAs.
  • Access the website you want to download in the form of a progressive web application.
  • Click on the menu of your browser and add the web to the desktop, as a shortcut (add to start).
Progressive Web Applications

Although it seems that a simple shortcut is added to the Android home screen, if the web page is available in the form of a progressive web application, this will be downloaded to the phone. Thanks to this, it will open faster, it will not consume as many resources and it will also be able to work without an Internet connection. Of course, as long as it is not essential for the app to work since, if Twitter is installed (for example), the service will need to access the connection to display the tweets, whether they are mobile data or WiFi.

Progressive web applications have the appearance of a ‘normal’ app: after installing them you may have them in your application drawer

One last detail to note is that, depending on the PWA, the access may not be anchored to the desktop and if it is installed as a more or less common app. In that case you will have to search for it among your installed applications.

The best progressive web apps

Pwa Telegram On the left, the Telegram application. On the right, Telegram’s progressive web application.

We have already seen that there are many advantages of this type of apps and that they work on any Android as long as a compatible browser is used. Now, not all web services are offered as a progressive web application, but there are several that you can take advantage of for your personal use.

To access the download you have to enter the website and save shortcut to desktop, as we explained before. Here is our list of the best progressive web applications:

To discover many more progressive web applications we recommend the specialized PWA Directory. It offers a complete registry of all PWAs with links, recommended and also search engine. Also, and how could it be otherwise, the directory itself is a progressive web application.