Top 5 Progressive Web App Frameworks – Make It Less Complicated

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The rise and shine of PWA remains an upward trend and is predicted to soon be the future standard for websites. If you are interested in this technology, this article will introduce 5 excellent progressive web app frameworks used to build one and with helpful advice following.

Let’s get right into it!

What Are PWA Frameworks?

First, PWA is a web app with uses modern technologies to create the hybrid user experience of native apps and regular websites. Fast, reliable, and engaging are 3 clear characteristics of PWA. 

There are a number of progressive web app frameworks that developers can use. With a framework, the process will accelerate as developers are provided rich resources and various tools to work with. Of course, each framework comes with its own strength and weaknesses.

Regarding the characteristics of each framework, you can decide what to work with. In case you need a hand, here are the top 5 popular progressive web app frameworks you can consider. 

5 Popular Frameworks To Develop PWA 

Angular

AngularJS

Overview

Angular is one of the oldest frameworks that adopts a matured and well-marked methodology. First created by Google in 2010 is Angular based on Javascript. Then they updated the evolution of AngularJS version 1.0, and now the latest Angular version 4.0 has been released. 

Angular is designed to be modular, and each element is deeply compatible with other built projects of different frameworks. 

Ahead of Time (AOT), a compilation mechanism that, when building PWAs with Angular, would enable a highly speedy and secured application. 

Pros

  • Angular makes the implementation easy with its clearly defined methodology.
  • Receive massive support from a fully grown developer community.
  • Suitable for projects at any scale but most ideal is for high-performing projects.
  • Reusable components to optimize effectiveness.
  • Out-of-the-box concept of AOT to strengthen speed and security.

Cons

  • A solid and experienced coding ability, along with a steep knowledge of Typescript (a Javascript’s superset), is highly requested.
  • Poor options and limited accessibilities for search engine crawlers.

React

pwa framework react

Overview

Released by Facebook in 2013, React can also be known as React PWA open-source library. This dynamic PWA ecosystem is highly accepted and appreciated among developers after a short introduction. 

More specifically, React framework comes with extensive Javascript libraries that allow developers to have more flexibility in development by providing detailed documents and advanced tools. The JS framework is adopted for single and multi-page application creation. 

The ‘Create React app’ package can speed up the PWA building process by allowing little to no configuration, thus leveraging PWA as a new standard for websites. 

The one factor that makes React an ideal PWA development lies in its virtual Document Object Model, or DOM. This is why you can make custom changes to the UI without the need to rework the whole page and the risk of rendering difficulties.

Pros 

  • Enormous, helpful development community and a mature ecosystem as a backup. 
  • No need to equip heavy codes for the libraries as you can change the page right in its virtual memory.
  • Useful DOM and various rendering optimization help faster page loading time.
  • Excellent server-side solutions for a rich interactive PWA.
  • All sizes of PWA projects are applicable.
  • Easy to learn and use with Model-View-Controller (MVC model).

Cons 

  • React PWA requires a separate JSX from Javascript, thus making the migration from other frameworks like Angular to React more complicated.
  • Limited documentation as updates is regularly made over just a short period. 
  • The viewport compromises only UI app layers, so developers need to add different technologies for a complete toolset. 

Polymer

polymer pwa

Overview

Google created the Polymer toolkit using in-built HTML and Javascript. This open-source framework contains well-sorted documentation along with manifold templates, web elements, and tools to use. 

Polymer’s source code doesn’t need custom changes by allowing developers to recreate HTML components to their own needs and integrate them into the web app. 

With more than 22,000 stars on GitHub, Polymer gradually gains great authority and trust from programmers. Polymer is one of the best-simplified operations, thus making it more promising for PWA development. 

Pros

  • Separate components for the ease of reusable.
  • Convenience for across JS libraries integrations.
  • Data is synchronizable across multiple devices.
  • Well-structured documentation for quick and easy onboarding.
  • Both one-way and two-way data binding are accessible through Polymer.

Cons 

  • Lack of clear explanation for web components understanding and how it could be exploited for large-scale projects. 
  • Issues with mobile devices: Several users have reported Polymer’s performance to be poor on mobile. 

Ionic 

best pwa framework 2021

Overview

Ionic is another powerful PWA tool that is open free for use. Based on a combination of Apache Cordova and Angular, Ionic is leveraged to operate on an advanced tech heap.

The enhancement of Ionic comes from the fact that it takes advantage of highly approved web technologies such as HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Plus, it adopts optimal practices for mobile devices like touch-minimizing gestures, accelerated transitions for hardware. 

With Cordova plugins, native app features can be brought into PWA easily to run in the browsers. Adaptive Styling helps Ionic-based apps to have satisfying visual and user experiences. Ionic high-performing apps result from native SDK features and native app UI principles adherence. 

Pros

  • Short learning curve.
  • Supportive and highly evolving community.
  • Powerful tools like Stencil and Workbox are accompanied for notable web page rendering and loading performance optimization.
  • Detailed guides and clear, concise explanation comes along.
  • Equipped with plentiful tools to cover PWA functionality from pre-build routing to UI elements to unit tests.
  • Save time for devs who used to work with Angular or are familiar with it, supports other famous frameworks like React, Angular, and Vue.
  • Scale down the costs of development, hiring, and codebase maintenance.

Cons 

  • Tiresome and time-consuming when regularly redesigning the current PWA is required due to updates.
  • Debugging a built app with Ionic can be a huge challenge because of ambiguous messages along the way.
  • Ionic can’t independently perform with native plugins but instead must be converted into Javascript.

Vue

vue pwa

Overview

Vue is a widely known open-source framework supported by a global team under the license of MIT distribution, with prominent features. This community is also among the most rapidly evolving libraries. 

In the heart of Vue and React, they share many things in common. They both use the virtual DOM to represent the actual one for a lightweight and competent replacement. They both provide additional packages. 

On the contrary, React prioritizes the majority on Javascript-based operation, taking the more advanced approach. In comparison, Vue aims for well-established web technologies like HTML, CSS to help beginners shorten the learning curve. 

Vue makes the coding process easier significantly with, firstly, the appearance of CLI3, a functional PWA set. Secondly, the extra supporting features available, such as Nuxt.js for an impeccable one-page app. 

Pros

  • Favorable towards front-end newcomers.
  • Firmly set the standard for smaller PWA development solutions.
  • Enables fast app delivery effectively.
  • Contributes detailed and concise documentation.
  • Virtual DOM utilization for improved web page rendering. 

Cons 

  • The benefit of flexibility in return causes unsettled issues and pending PWA framework usage during project development. 
  • Smaller support team and developer community compared to others.

What Are The Technologies Being Built?

If you are still reluctant and confused about what framework to choose, here are the outcome technologies that you will need for PWA development.  

Web app manifest

A web app manifest is a .json file that informs PWA how it should operate when entering a user’s device. It helps browsers understand how PWA works. 

The web browser first needs to scan the manifest file as it isn’t familiar with the new web app appearing. It then downloads the internal documents to cache them in structure locally. These local caches will be valuable for web page rendering even when the network is no longer available.

All of the deets required inside the PWA manifest are the app’s name and author, the version and description, icons. Except for Safari with partial support, all browsers like Chrome, Edge, UC Browser, Firefox, Opera, and Samsung provide complete support to PWA manifest files. 

API

API stands for Application Programming Interface, a programming code package that acts as an intermediary to connect two software products through the exchange of data. 

To put it simply, API delivers the user’s response to the system for interpretation and sends back the post-processed result to that user in an appropriately restructuring manner. 

Also, they are more often contributed in graphical components to create user interfaces and are applicable for desktop as well as mobile use.

Service Worker

The service worker is the type of web worker that browsers can use to run explicitly and display without the web page or the user involvement. It is responsible for the most outstanding hardware capabilities that PWA can do. Service workers are what determine how PWA can be apart from regular websites. 

Due to cache memory and API storage that are provided within service workers, PWA technologies can optimize the loading process by precaching components. Thus making the second click on a loaded page can reappear instantly.

Here’s how it works at a glance:

  • Postpone the requests from HTTPs for your app to choose the suitable content source to deliver, whether it is from a local data storage, a cache, or the Internet.
  • Receive and activate push notifications from your server.
  • Create offline mode and background sync features of PWA technologies by storing previously loaded data.

Application Shell

For a PWA to acquire constant steadiness in speed, an app shell architecture is being built. It can offer a fixed rendering page and meanwhile, the browser will immediately download the loaded code to shift into the complete version for guests. 

App shells are known for their quick operation even when there’s no connection to appear with few starting HTML. Building JavaScript-based single-page apps with app shells is an ideal option to consider as the live content will be handled by Javascript. Heavy caching work with the shell is what’s needed for this option.

Transport Layer Security

TLS encodes the content sent over the Internet to protect it from man-in-the-middle attacks to steal or transmit private and sensitive information like passwords, bank account numbers, etc. 

With the combination of symmetric and asymmetric cryptography, TLS can operate well-balanced between performance and security. Transport Layer Security is valuable to every organization type as the cybersecurity protocol. 

How To Choose The Most Suitable Progressive Web App Framework?

To select the proper framework, you need to generate careful considerations around the demand, the resource, and the requirements of your business. Here are some questions that would help you better brainstorm and select the suitable one from the available progressive web app frameworks.

  • Is the project you’re handling large or small scale? 
  • The project outcome is aimed to approach which type of customer? Are your business customers in the low or high-involvement buying process?
  • How many people are on the development team? What are their technical strengths?
  • How much time do you have? How much money do you allow to use?
  • How much work can you do each day? 
  • What are the must-have functionalities? 
  • Have you viewed the results of these different frameworks? What do you think are useful and what not? 

Recap

PWA possesses some powerful features that are essential for a long-term profitable business online. 

With the most potent and popular progressive web app frameworks used, along with core technologies of PWA, hopefully, you have obtained helpful knowledge from this article.

Each PWA development agency will utilize different frameworks. Here at Tigren, we offer a Magento ReactJS-based theme for the best-optimized performance and custom PWA service to cater to your specific requirements. With this theme, your Magento site will be more engaging than ever.

Find more information about our PWA services here.

April LeeTop 5 Progressive Web App Frameworks – Make It Less Complicated

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