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Magento PWA: Upcoming Destiny for Web Developers

August 12, 2019

7 Min Read
Magento-PWA
Reading Time: 7 minutes

Have you ever thought about downloading a mobile application without using any medium such as Google Play or App Store? 

After reading this statement, you guys be like: Are you kidding?

Seriously, I’m not cracking any jokes. It’s now possible with a frontend-technology called Progressive Web Applications (PWA). It excites me more when Magento announced the existence of PWA studio project. 

Magento PWA studio was introduced on January 15, 2019, from that day I desperately wanted to write a blog on Magento PWA. Yes, I’m late but it’s better than never. 

In this blog, I will mention some insights of PWA and advantages to have an online store with Magento PWA. 

Are you excited as I am? So, let’s get started. 

What are Progressive Web Apps (PWAs)?

Progressive web apps are the future of web development. PWAs use common web technologies including HTML, CSS and JavaScript which are compatible with all browsers. It offers all the features similar to what a single native mobile application does in fact – more than that – such as offline modes, push notifications and a lot more.

It is way different than common non-progressive web applications which works around the following core attributes:

Responsive: The apps cover all sorts of devices and capable to manage to the great user interface.

Splash Screen: PWA adds a splash screen during the startup of the app. This way it feels more like a native app.

Reliable: Google found that 53% mobile sites were abandoned if a page took more than 3 seconds to load. These PWAs can open when there is no WiFi and with a low-speed network such as 2G.

Fast: It offers more smooth navigation and enhances the page transitions.

I have addressed just few characteristics to create an initial understanding of PWA. Let’s discuss how does it practically execute.

I guess you might experience a sudden popup while browsing on mobile which asks “ADD TO HOME SCREEN?” By allowing it or clicking on that button, the application will start installing in the background. After that, you can find an app icon on your home screen or application drawer. 

You can complete this process without accessing the Play Store or the App Store. If you haven’t witnessed anything like that then, here are some popular brands which are using PWA you can check them out on your mobile:

  • Ali Express
  • Flipkart Lite 
  • Forbes
  • Trivago 
  • Washington Post

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Facts Related to Progressive Web Applications

Uber rebuilt its web client as an alternative to the native mobile app by leveraging the PWA technology. It enhances the app performance on low-end devices and also enables to quickly load even on 2G network.

Forbes is having a great time after the deployment of PWA. Now, Forbes – PWA site loads in 2.5 seconds only. Whereas, the previous load time was 6.5 seconds. Personally, I think it’s a major turn around.  

Opensooq, one of the largest online classified ad services in the Middle East and North Africa received over 85% of their traffic from mobile devices after implementing PWA to their website. And, this percentage keeps on increasing. 

This one blew my mind! The BookMyShow’s new Progressive Web App drives an 80% increase in conversions.

What is Magento PWA Studio

Magento has its own PWA studio project which is a set of developer tools that allow for the development, deployment, and maintenance of a PWA storefront on top of Magento 2.3 and above. 

Magento has used the latest tools and libraries to build a framework that reflects it’s principle of extensibility. 

Listed are tools and libraries used to build Magento PWA studio to enhance the user experience:

PHP

PHP is the backbone of Magento, but it’s not necessary for you to work on it, if you are dealing with Magento PWA. Until and unless, you require some heavy customization at the Magento backend. 

JavaScript

JavaScript is the primary language used for building Magento PWA studio project. If you are a Magento developer and have a mindset to work on Magento PWA. So, you must have great hands-on experience with JavaScript. 

When it comes to front-end development, developers make sure for the browser compatibility to create a consistent experience. The reason is that web browsers contain a different version of JavaScript, so as a developer it’s important to keep this aspect in your focus.

On the other hand, the backend development of Magento PWA studio has done by using node.js.

React

Basically, React is a JavaScript library which is responsible for building user interface designs. This library facilitates Magento PWA studio development by providing these features:

Simple: It allows you to freely work on user component without interrupting backend. It renders a method to take input and return what to display.

Declarative: It becomes complicated while designing a user interface with the DOM API. But React helps you to define the layout of the user interface. And the rest look after by the library. 

Modular: React appreciates the developer to use a modular approach. By approaching this technique makes your code easier to debug and maintain.

webpack

The primary function of the webpack is to merge the scripts. Other than that, PWA-Buildpack is a development tool and library for Magento PWA. It contains webpack tools for gearing up the development environment.  

If you want to configure these tools you can find them in the project’s “webpack.config.js” file.

Hooks

Hooks are new additions to the React 16.8. The advantage of this library is that it allows you to use State and other React features without writing a class. Moreover, Peregrine library provides custom Hooks for storefront behavior and logic. 

Therefore, developers should be well-aware of using the Hooks to get the most out of the Magento PWA studio.

GraphQL

GraphQL is useful for data query language on the client side as well as the service layer. GraphQL improves the performance of Magento PWA by reducing the number of server calls, and the amount of data returned. One of the major advantages of GraphQL is that it can accommodate any combination of requests. 

Workbox

Workbox is a Google’s library that makes it easier to work with service worker. It is helpful for boosting up the performance by controlling cache modules and enabling offline mode. These are the parameters which are necessary for Progressive Web Applications.

As a developer, if you commit to work on this frontend technology –  Magento PWA, you have to gear up yourself for it. 

Reasons to Have a Store with Magento PWA 

There are numerous reasons that can convince any online store owner for having a web store with Magento PWA. But, I will be only focusing on the important ones. 

Works Offline –  Requires No Internet

Well, it’s 100% true. Magento PWA sites can operate in offline mode without utilizing a single bit of your WiFi. No matter, if you are flying in the air or rolling a Jeep in the deserts.

Beyond this, you can book your air tickets, hotel reservation or shopping on one of your favorite brands. All of these processes will be in a standby mode until PWA is online again.

One more thing to highlight that poor state of mobile networking isn’t a problem for PWA sites. 

Lightning-Fast Browsing

With the traditional development process poor response time is the most frustrating part to cope up with, whereas, Magento PWA rectifies these issues by offering instant loading, fast UI usability and of course the impressive speed. All of these have helped in streamlining service worker and client-side-storage API. 

With PWA precaches, it benefits the user with faster loading next time the customer opens your website. Hence, it makes the users visit your site again and recommend to others as well.

No Need to Download

With Magento PWA you don’t have to download an application from any external source. It means, by applying Magento PWA you as a store owner is saving the time of your customer.

Push Notification

I’m sure, this thought will come to your mind as well. Does Magento PWA perform the functionality of push notification as like native applications? 

The answer is: Yes, It does! 

Magento PWA’s push notification enhances user engagement and keeps the store presence alive. Moreover, it motivates the user to redirect to your store by notifying them with amazing deals or trending products.

Cost Efficient

That was the most surprising part for me. How’s it possible to build such an amazing web app within a budget?  

The very first reason: it works on all the OS such as Android, iOS. It means that you don’t need to build different apps for multiple platforms. 

Second, Magento has a well-defined PWA architecture which doesn’t consume much time and efforts of the developers.  

What Experts Have to Say About Magento PWA? 

Online store owners can provide more native app like experiences with PWA enabled Magento frontends, such as “enabling content while offline” and “use of native device features like phone notification system” – such as alerting the user if the battery is low and the transaction may not complete with the remaining battery life available, so can prompt the user to save what they have done so far. These native app like experiences are anticipated to contribute to raising conversion rates. 

David Alpern 

 

Progressive Web Applications (PWA) reshape the mobile landscape across industries, with ecommerce coming first in line. Here is the thing about PWA – it offers a kind of unique user experience to ecommerce websites bringing native mobile app and web app development under one roof. Incorporating PWA into Magento-based websites, merchants get a single website version that loads fast, launches from a mobile device home screen, sends push notifications, operates on low-quality networks and even offline. What is more, PWA development costs are 5-6 times lower comparing to native mobile apps. Any downsides? Seriously, we haven’t traced any so far. 

Stacy Matyl 

 

For a Magento developer, it’s effortless to get started with Magento PWA.  If you’re a dev working with the PWA, you don’ t need to know much about the Magento core framework, just the APIs and how to send and request data to and from it.

Magento’s PWA is really a very progressive & ambitious step for any store owner. But necessary, if you want to be one step in front of the competition. The cherry on top: Visiting the store’s PWA site on mobile and desktop will prompt the user (after a predetermined time) to download your site as a *local application*! That means your store website is easily accessible and can work offline for specific pages. 

Tihana Drumev

 

Are you Ready: For Developing Your Own Magento PWA?

Not eventually but gradually, it’s going to be an era of PWA sites. Most of the popular brands have invested in PWA and have gained an unbelievable response. I do hope that some above-mentioned facts motivate you to have your own Magento PWA project.

While Magento PWA has defined its own PWA architecture that’s quite helpful for the developers. I think there are no such EXCUSES left for not kicking off with Magento PWA. It has already captured the market and is in demand among the ecommerce owners. 

So, gear up and let users keep on scrolling your Magento PWA online store. And, if you are worried where to host, then take it easy as managed Magento hosting will deal with it.

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Abdur Rahman

Abdur Rahman is the Magento whizz at Cloudways. He is growth ambitious, and aims to learn & share information about Ecommerce & Magento Development through practice and experimentation. He loves to travel and explore new ideas whenever he finds time. Get in touch with him at abdul.rehman@cloudways.com

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