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What is the Difference Between PWA, SPA and Native Mobile Applications

by Olufisayo
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Mobile Applications

When developing mobile applications, you may struggle with what development architecture to use for optimal results.

Progressive Web Applications (PWA), Single Page Applications (SPA), and Native Mobile Application are all valid models that you can use to achieve your objective, however, each of them has different attributes and employ different technologies. Before you proceed with the development, it is imperative that you understand what function all of them serve.

Choosing the right form of application architecture is very important because it eventually impacts the conversion rate of your website. An online retailer, Luxmart doubled their conversion rate by shifting to a Progressive Web App. This measure indicates that the new web app resonated with the users and they found it easy to navigate the app.

What are Progressive Web Apps (PWA)?

Built using modern technology, the Progressive Web Apps have gained popularity among developers because of a number of reasons. First of all, they can be accessed with all standards-compliant browsers, making it a flexible cross-platform solution. Another factor that makes PWAs great is that they are supported by service workers and web app manifests.

PWAs were first introduced by Google but can is also supported by Apple.

They work like native applications and their interface and functionality is super user-friendly rendering them a preferred choice among developers.

PWAs provide value to users by loading the core content first, followed by secondary and less important content. This mechanism is known as progressive enhancement principle. MPS provides PWA development, so if you’re looking for someone who has established credibility, then MPS is the right choice.

What are Single-Page Applications or SPAs?

In Single-Page Applications, all content is loaded at once unlike in PWAs. They are dynamic in terms of generating content without refreshing the page. This development mechanism eliminates the need for going back and forth between the server and browser thereby ensuring the interaction rate for users is fast. If new content has to be loaded, partial content is fetched without the whole page being re-rendered.

Can SPAs be turned into PWAs?

There exists a lot of confusion between PWA and SPAs and there’s a lot of information claiming that SPA can be turned into a PWA later. This is true, however, PWA’s visual information delivery is different and if you plan to convert an SPA into a PWA in future, you need to plan for it. Reengineering one form of development architecture into another is a lot of work and is not as easy as it sounds.

Click here to read more about the difference between PWA and SPA.

Native Mobile Applications and its forms

Native applications are platform-specific and use Integrated Development Environment (IDE)of the operating system they have employed. This means that separate applications need to be built for Android and iOS. It also requires additional work, time, and resources to build different versions of the same application.

Native Applications can be either true-native, hybrid or a web app in native wrappers. In a hybrid-native form, majority of the work is dependent on a core codebase and can be cross-developed for different platforms. Native wrappers function like a native app but have the benefits of PWAs as well.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Native Mobile Applications

The best thing about Native Mobile Applications is the flexibility and performance they bring. This is because each version is built according to a certain operating system. Not only that, but you can also make use of all native features such as app to app communication, payments and NFC.

If you’re developing a true-native application, the cost, time and resources required to do the work will be more as compared to development of other types of Web Apps. In hybrid and native-wrapped PWA, you will require less resources and money for development, however, you will not have access to all features of native apps. One drawback of native apps is that they use multiple source codebases which requires extensive development time.

How should you choose a Development Architecture for your Web App?

Each of the development architecture discussed comes with its pros and cons. If you are short on time, you should consider going for PWAs and SPAs as they use one code to develop a cross-platform solution.

A smartphone is a cluttered space and users don’t frequent all the apps they’ve installed. PWAs are able to send push notifications and keep the users engaged. PWAs also happen to load faster so if conversion is one of your KPIs, you may want to use this model to develop your web app.

When choosing between development architecture for your app, have a clear view of your strategy. Find a partner who can fulfill your objectives and truly understand your business in order to create a successful web app.

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