In light of the recent COVID-19 pandemic - OPTASY would like to offer DRUPAL website support for any Health Care, Government, Education and Non-Profit Organization(s) with critical crisis communication websites or organizations directly providing relief. Stay Safe and Stay Well.

Top 3 Tools to Build a Progressive Web App 

Top 3 Tools to Build a Progressive Web App 

by Adrian Ababei on Aug 04 2017

“Progressive Web Apps are experiences that combine the best of the web and the best of apps.” (Google Developers). Brief, to the point, and encompassing, in just a few words, all the reasons why PWAs have gained so much popularity over the last few years!

They sure carry loads of potential to shape the future of mobile web in the years to come!

Now let's try a “guessing game” and see if we can guess why you've chosen to build a progressive web app instead of sticking to optimizing your current site for mobile:

 

  • they're... progressive: they work regardless of the used web browser

     
  • they're not connectivity-dependent: not only that they don't need internet connectivity to run, but they do load fast even in the context of a terrible network performance 

     
  • they run on modern web technologies 

     
  • they're “clusters” of app-like features

     
  • they're installable: users get to add them to their own home screens and to reuse them with a simple click on their shortcuts 

     
  • they're responsive out-of-the-box

     
  • they're not constrained to refresh entire web pages when they're loading new content 

     
  • they send relevant push notifications 

     
  • they load at full-screen

     
  • they grow more powerful with time, as the user-progressive web app relationship “matures”, so to say

     

Moreover (and this is no tiny detail, for sure), to the memorable experience that a progressive web app delivers to the end user, add the benefit of a relatively low-complexity development process!

Speaking of which, here are the 5 best tools to use to build a progressive web app:

 

1. AngularJS, Polymer or React

When you say “web development” you instantly say “JavaScript”, right?

Yet, when you're planning to set up a progressive web app you should be more specific than that: you should “laser-focus” on one of its many tempting frameworks! 

In this respect, here are the 3 ones that we recommend you to consider! Select your suitable core framework depending on factors such as your future app's complexity or the time limit that you need to adapt your workflow to:

Angular.JS

Pros: 

  • probably one of the most powerful JavaScript frameworks for building web apps
  • the environment that its newest version, Angular 4.0, provides is the same for both for mobile and desktop web development 

     

Con: 

  • although there are plenty of tutorials out there that you could use, you might still find this framework to be too complex in case you want to build a progressive web app with just basic features and functionalities

React

By far this framework's most “seducing” feature is its component-approach to web development!

Practically all the components putting together the UI are JavaScript-based, which enables you to easily reuse them at need! A powerful UI development speed-booster tool!

Besides its component-centered approach we could easily point out a couple of other reasons for choosing React to power up your progressive web app with:

 

  • giant Facebook supports it (and along with it all its worldwide users, which are constantly testing it, as a global-scale)... need we add more?

     
  • it's React Native's foundation, meaning that you'll be able to easily and seamlessly port your React-powered apps to native apps

     
  • thanks to the component-based UI, you practically get to deliver your future progressive web app to any browser, device or operating system; using Node.js and Reactive Native, those components can render both in the browser, on the server and inside the apps themselves

Polymer 

Now when time is a “merciless” projection of your client, Polymer makes the perfect choice of core framework to build a progressive web app!

It “spoils” you with:

 

  • templates
  • reusable components

     

… which stand for the perfect definition of a “fast app development process”! 

Creating prototypes is, no doubt, the perfect use case for this framework! You can just make use of the template that Polymer provides you with for setting up the code of your app project and add on the client's input later on in the development process!

There's more! Since “fast” is the defining characteristic of this framework, where do you add that Polymer uses PRPL pattern for speeding up the app's delivery to the chosen device?

Should we mention, as well, that the template features the Google-emblematic material design out-of-the-box?

 

2. Webpack: An Essential Tool to Build a Progressive Web App, a Custom One

If the aforementioned Polymer makes a great choice for getting started, for setting up your apps's prototype, then Webpack gives you access to the next level! The one where you build a progressive web app that's more complex and front-end driven.

Its two major benefits:

 

  1. it's a module bundler: it enables you to bundle your JavaScript resources (even fonts, CSS, images and other non-code assets), which will get treated as JavaScript objects, meaning that they will load significantly faster

     
  2. it simplifies the whole creation of dependency graphs (you'll no longer need to display the links to all your JavaScript files on your HTML page)

     

In short: managing dependencies gets so much more streamlined with Webpack

Con:

  • along with its speed-enhancing features, Webpack comes with a quite steep learning curve. A manageable one, though, if you consider all the learning resources and documentation available online (that aren't beginner-friendly though, so get ready to invest some resources of time for learning your way around this JavaScript module bundler)!

     

3. Knockout 

If it's a lightweight, yet functionality-loaded, quick to set up progressive web app that you have in mind, then Knockout is the framework to go for!

Here are some of the powerful features that make it an indispensable asset for your toolbox:

 

  • it comes with a light library (13 KB), yet carrying a heavy load of functionalities

     
  • you get to “inject” its library into an existing website without extensive rewrite

     
  • it's easy to learn

     
  • it provides you with templating, meaning that building complex apps gets significantly faster (no more duplicated DOM elements)

     
  • it works exclusively on JavaScript (making your future app accessible from any browser, any framework)

     
  • it's great for handling MVVM bindings between HTML and JavaScript

     
  • it enables you to extend your HTML

     
  • it comes with a load of pre-built attributes (so you won't need to write them, yourself, like it's the case with other “rivaling” frameworks)

     

And this is how our suggested “arsenal” of tools to build a progressive web app looks like! Keep in mind, though, that this is an ever-changing list, considering the fast pace at which new web technologies emerge in the digital landscape!

Development

We do Web development

Go to our Web development page!

Visit page!

Recommended Stories

Why Use Node.js with React? 11 Reasons Why You Should Hook Up Your React App with a Node Back-end
So, you’d like to build an app with React. And, while weighing your back-end options, you ask yourself: “Why use Node.js with React?” Why would you go with Node for hosting and running your web server? Why not… Ruby on Rails? Or maybe Python/Django? This is precisely what you’ll find in this post: the 11 main reasons why you’d want to choose Node.js as a backend for your React web app: 1. But First: What Is the Difference Between ReactJS and Node.js? We already have a blog post focused precisely on the React vs Node dilemma, so in today’s post I’ll only pinpoint, briefly, the main differences between the 2 technologies:   While ReactJS is a front-end library, Node.js is a highly popular choice for back-end development (thanks to its event-driven nature and to being asynchronous and highly scalable)   While React provides you with a language to describe the user interface of your web application, Node.js helps you with all sorts of (back-end) things like setting up your server, building CLI tools, scripting; a key difference to help you solve your “React vs Node.js” dilemma   While ReacJS helps you build your UI components, Node.js stores your app’s data in the backend   While React is web app developers’ top choice to address challenges like low performance and slow user interface, Node.js is the go-to technology for creating enterprise-level solutions based on WebSockets, event quests, and microservice architecture. 2. Does ReactJS (Really) Require Node?  In other words, do you need to have a Node.js backend to run React? No, you don’t. Node.js is not required for running Reactjs. So, why use Node.js with React? There are certain use cases and reasons why you’d want to pair the 2 technologies for building your app: you cut down on your web app development time (which always has a major business impact) the Node.js and React duo is your ticket to scalable and efficient code … But more on the strongest reasons why you’d use Reactjs with Node down below... 3. Why Use Node.js with React? 11 Top Reasons Now, going back to your initial question — “Why do you need Node.js for React?” — here are the key reasons why you’d go with this “duo”: 3.1. Because they’re both JavaScript: you can execute them server-side and client-side The benefits you get from having a JS-based technology in the back-end, as well, are obvious: you only need to be familiar with JavaScript (no Ruby or Python expertise needed) same language means… same packages same language means that you get to speed up your app’s development process 3.2. Because you get to inject V8 engine performance into your React app In other words, your React app will be perfectly equipped to handle bulk requests with no compromise on quality. The V8 engine that Node.js uses grants your app the best page load times. 3.3. Because you get a collection of NPM packages to choose from With the NPM CLI at your disposal, you get to install any of the packages available in the registry quick and easy. 3.4. Why use Node.js with React? Because the “duo” helps you address high server load issues  They work perfectly together to help your app handle multiple client requests while striking a server load balance. 3.5. Because Node.js bundles your app into a single, easy-to-compile file Using various modules along with Webpack, Node Js bundles your app into one file. One that can get compiled much easier... 3.6. Because it’s a real-time, data-intensive React app that you’re building. Does your React application depend on Data Streaming or Data-Intensive, Real-Time management? Is interactivity a major requirement for your web app? Is it a real time application that you have in mind? Then Nodejs makes the best choice for continued server connection in a context of intensive computation. 3.7. Because you get to run React.js code straight in the Nodejs environment 3.8. Because you get to scale your React & Node.js app to much higher loads A Node.js back-end will help your app accommodate many more users and many more future calls.  It's your best option for building scalable applications. The 2 giants are using Node.js precisely for its great scalability potential. 3.9. Because you get to build JSON APIs for your app much easier when using Node and React together How come? You get to share and reuse code in React.js quick and easy when you pair it with Node.js in the back-end. 3.10. Because rendering server-side becomes a more streamlined process Since React DOM comes with components built to work with Nodejs out of the box, you get to cut down on the lines of code.  Which translates into streamlined server-side rendering.   3.11. Because it’s a single-page React app that you’re building The “React with Node.js” duo makes the best choice for building a SPA. The lightweight Node backend will be in charge of handling asynchronous data loading via callback functions. 4. In Short, You’d Want to Use React and Node.js Together Because... “Why use Node.js with React?” As a conclusion, we could narrow down the entire list to just 2 key reasons:   Convenience: same language in the back-end and the front-end; Node.js makes the go-to option for running and hosting a web server for your React app   ReactJS depends on Node and npm (Node Package Manager) to notify the native side (iOS/Android) of the packages that you need to use in your app; then, it can add all the needed dependencies. The END! Now that you know why and when you’d want to use React with Node.js: how do you build that high-performance, conveniently scalable React & Node.js app? We’re here to help you get the most of these 2 technologies. Just drop us a line to have a team of React and Node Js developers handle your project. Image by Anemone123 from Pixabay ... Read more
Adriana Cacoveanu / Sep 16'2020
Create React App vs Next.js: Which One Should You Go With for Building Your Next App?
You're about to start working on a new app project and you're confused: Create React App vs Next.js - what's the difference?  Which option's best for you? Considering your SEO,  SSR, API, and performance needs. And they're frustratingly similar: they both enable you to build React apps without the need to use Webpack for bundling it (or the need to do any code splitting) they both make it possible for you to have your React app up and running in no time Still, each framework comes with its own pros and cons and specific use cases. So, in this post, you'll find your answers to the following questions: What are the key differences between CRA and Next.js? What are the main benefits of using Next.js? What are the main benefits of using Create React App? What are the downsides of Next.js? What are the downsides of Create React App? When would you want to use one over the other? 1. What's the Key Difference Between CRA and Next.js? SSR vs CSR... It's where all their differences stem from. Next.js apps are rendered on the client-side (CSR), but the framework supports server-side rendering (SSR), as well. By comparison, Create React App apps are rendered only on the client-side. In other words: CRA generates HTML code in the client browser, whereas Next.js generates it in the server, based on the URL.  So, your "Create react App vs Next.js" dilemma comes down to whether a static page meets your needs or not entirely. 2. What Are the Main Benefits of Using Next.js? Now that you know what's the fundamental difference between the 2 systems for building React apps, let's put the spotlight on Next.js. Why would you choose it? because it's so simple to set up, build, and even host a Next.js app: you have packages for almost all the key additions that call for Webpack configuration (SaSS, CSS, TS...) because rendering React apps becomes much easier, regardless of where the data comes from because you can benefit from automatic server rendering and code splitting (that will increase performance) because SSR (server-side rendering) will give your app a major performance boost  because it's a lightweight framework for both static and server-rendered universal JS apps because it's good for SEO (with everything being generated from the server...) 3. Create React App vs Next.js: What Are the Main Benefits of Using CRA? In a "Next.js vs create-react-app" debate, what are the strongest reasons for opting for CRA to build your React app? it's easier to deploy you get to build a single page React app with... zero configuration (no time-consuming setup needed) you don't need to deal with Webpack or Babel it's plain simple (an empty div and just a few js files) and provides all the needed HTML code to render your app on the client-side  the development process is much smoother better developer experience In short, with Create React App you basically run just one command and the framework sets up all the tools you need to start developing your app on the spot. 4. What Are the Downsides of Next.js? What could make you think twice before choosing Next.js for building your next app? the fact that it's opinionated: there's a Next.js way of doing things and you're constrained to... adjust to it if you later want to use a router different from its own filled-based one (or add Redux maybe), you'll discover that it's not that flexible  5. What Are the Downsides of Create React App? In a "Create React App vs Next.js" debate, why would you rule out CRA? because it only supports client-side rendering, which is not enough if it's a high-performing app that you want to build because no code splitting translates into lower performance because it's not good for SEO (since it doesn't render pages on the server) 6. When Would You Want to Use Next.js? As a rule of thumb, use Next.js: if you need to build a fast, production-ready app (SSR injects top speed into your React application) if public SEO is a crucial factor for your app project if it's a dynamic page that you need to create (wihout having to write your own bundling) if it's an eCommerce app that you're building (Next.js is more suited for the cart, the stock inventory, and other highly dynamic pages) 7. When Would You Want to Use Create React App? When would you choose it over Next.js? when you need to build a React app really fast; with CRA you can skip the configuration and the setting up part when you need to create a landing page for a product: Create React App makes it so much simpler to put it together when it's a SPA that you need to build 8. In Conclusion... CRA is easy, while Next.js "seduces" you with better performance and SEO. Is it a single page React app that you need to get up and running fast and you don't need SSR? Create React App might just be the best choice for you. Is it a fast-loading app that you're building? Is performance business-critical for you and SEO much more than just a nice-to-have? You might want to consider Next.js then for your next app. Need a team of experienced app developers to build it for you? Just send us your feature list and... let's build it! Image by Pexels from Pixabay   ... Read more
Silviu Serdaru / Aug 07'2020
What’s the Fundamental Difference Between Gatsby and Next.js? How Do You Choose?
You're building a React website/application. You have your bulky list of functionalities all set, you know how you want it to look, but can't decide on the React framework to build it on: What's the main difference between Gatsby and Next.js, after all? And what's the difference between server-side rendering and static site rendering? Since both frameworks seem to be serving your main goals:   not to get tangled up in config or routing to generate a fast, fully accessible and SEO-friendly website to provide you with boilerplate application   So, what's the fundamental differentiator between Gatsby and Next? The one(s) that'll help you identify the framework that best covers your specific use case. Or, are there several of them (differentiators)? Just keep on reading:   1. But First: What Do Gatsby and Next.js Have in Common? How are they similar?    they're both React frameworks they're both great options for SEO purposes they're both great options if you need a high performance React app/website they both provide entirely formed HTML pages they both provide boilerplate application they both simplify and speed up the React app/website development cycle  they both generate SPA out-of-the-box they both provide great developer experience   In short: both Next.js and Gatsby score well in categories like speed and SEO; they're both awesome solutions to streamline app/website development in React. But the way they go about it... that's where these frameworks are fundamentally different.   2. How Does GatsbyJS Work? It builds HTML code on build time. That would be the short(est) answer to your question. But if we were to elaborate upon it: GatsbyJS is a static site generator that... generates (static) HTML code during the “build” process. How? It fetches data from external sources — APIs, Contentful, WordPress, markdown files —  and uses GraphQL to render it. Example: say you have a blog. In this case, you could use Gatsby to fetch your blog posts from... Contentful. Or any other repository where you might be storing your content (e.g. WordPress or Drupal).   3. What's Next.js? A tool for rendering pages on the server-side. And a more detailed answer would be: It's a React framework that supports server-side rendering. Meaning that it generates the needed HTML code dynamically, from the server, each time a request is being sent through. In short: your browser's provided with pre-rendered HTML code instead of empty “div”. Now, how does its distinctive way of going about building a React app/website suit you? It enables you to develop multi-page applications using static rendering and serving dynamic data from a back-end.   4. What Are They Used For? Specific Use Cases for Gatbsy and for Next.js What's the difference between Gatsby and Next.js in terms of use case? In other words: when should you choose one over the other?   4.1. Specific Use Cases for GatsbyJS 1. Blogs and small-scaled websites And I'm talking here about a particular scenario: When you have no comments section on your blog or, at least, not a very “busy” one. So, a use case where you don't need to render content every 5-10 minutes. Since blogs are static and their content doesn't change that frequently, Gatbsy's ecosystem makes the perfect fit for them.  And you have 2 options for your blog post creation and publishing process:   you write a blog post and the npm build will generate a corresponding HTML page you write a blog post in Contentful (or a CMS of your choice), publish it and recompile your blog in Netfly   2. Landing pages Again, since they use static content, landing pages make an ideal use case for GatsbyJS.  Where do you add that Gatsby “spoils” you with such a wide collection of plugins to choose from and to boost your landing page with: PWA, inline critical CSS, AMP...   4.2. Specific Use Cases for Next.js 1. Content-packed websites Dealing with lots of content? Or are you expecting your site's content load to grow, over time?  Then Next.js should be your first choice.  The reason is simple: Just imagine your Gatsby framework overstrained to rebuild all that content over and over again. Not precisely the most time-effective solution to go with, don't you think? 2. When you need more freedom for accessing your data Do you want to empower your content team to publish content on their own? Then you might want to consider Next.js.   3. To-Do Apps They make the perfect use case for server-side rendering: Next.js retrieves the content for your list, from the server, and displays the to-do's upfront.   5. The Fundamental Difference Between Gatsby and Next.js Is... … that Gatsby's a statically generator, while Next.js generates HTML dynamically.  Image by Colin Behrens from Pixabay The first creates JS/HTML/CSS at build time, while the second generates it at run time. Or, if you wish to put it this way: Gatsby doesn't depend on a server, while Next can't function without one.   6.4 Other Main Areas Where They Differ For the “Gatsby vs Next” debate doesn't end at the “static vs dynamic” comparison.  There are other factors, as well, that set these 2 React frameworks apart. And we'll outline the 4 most obvious ones:   6.1. Data Handling In case of Gatsby, the framework's the one “deciding” how you should handle data in your app. It needs to know where your data, your images and other types of content will be handled.  What's in it your for? Why would you accept this... “compromise”: to be told how to handle data in your own app? Because: Gatsby, through its rich collection of plugins, enables you to hook up your site to various data sources. This way, you gain external control over your data... By comparison, Next's totally unopinionated. Is gives you the freedom to decide your own data architecture. In short: it doesn't “tie” you to a specific technology. You're free to handle data your own way.   6.2. Deployment You can deploy Gatsby anywhere you need to, with no special configurations, since it's no more than compiled CSS, JS, and HTML. And things are equally straightforward with Next.js, as well. Since it's a Node application, you can host it anywhere you want to...   6.3. Routing With Gatsby, you have a pages directory where you're free to create all the HTML pages needed for your app/website.  Moreover, they provide you an API, as well, for creating routes dynamically. With Next.js you get a “pages” folder, as well, where you can set up your new pages and get your app running, with no routing to config.   6.4. Plugins “What's the main difference between Gatsby and Next.js?” Plugins sure are a powerful differentiator. Gatsby comes “loaded” with an entire ecosystem of plugins.  So, do you need to have your JS minified, you CSS compiled, your...? There must be a Gatsby plugin for it. Image by Michael Schwarzenberger from Pixabay   Next.js, on the other hand, doesn't “tempt” you with plugins, since its smaller scope doesn't justify the usage of plugins... The END! These are the key differences between Next.js and Gatsby, along with their common points and specific use cases. Have you had your “Aha!” moment(s) reading through our post? Have you managed to identify the right framework for your own use case? Photo by Charles ?￰゚ヌᆳ on Unsplash ... Read more
Silviu Serdaru / Nov 12'2019