PWA's in the Enterprise

Over time, every business grows or changes and inevitably reaches a point where it feels compelled to improve or automate its internal procedures and processes. The people given the responsibility to research and execute this transformation often turn to technology in one form or another to help with this. Fundamentally, there is nothing wrong with this approach as after all, they know their business really well and are surely best placed to make that decision.

However, what if there were technological solutions available that companies simply did not know existed? ‘People don’t know what they don’t know’ is a commonly heard phrase and as technology constantly evolves, at an ever increasing rate, this rings true across all sectors.

One common form of technology that is turned to, is the mobile app. Everyone knows what they are, where to get them and if built correctly, people should be able to work out how to use them with minimal training. As wonderful as mobile apps can be for a business, they also come with varying levels of pain. Cost of development is a factor, cost of maintaining them is another one and then of course, the ultimate pain of deployment. To keep apps away from the public and to make sure only employees have access means a different level for the developer account. An Enterprise one. No prizes for guessing that they are more expensive than the public one. Some companies will also need to go ‘cross platform’, so they need the app to be available on Google Android and iOS. That is now two deployment streams to look after.

Having said all of that, some larger companies are happy with this approach. It’s tried and tested and once set up correctly, it can work extremely well. However, for companies just starting down this journey, or for an existing company looking to make more substantial changes, there is one avenue they absolutely should explore before making a decision, and they may not have heard about it. Please welcome, the Progressive Web App or PWA for short.

When I talk to people about this, I keep it simple. It’s an app that you can access and install through your browser. No app stores, no rules, instant deployment, cross platform and can also be used through a desktop browser and easily turned in to a desktop application. That’s it...

I get common questions of course:

Does it look like an actual app?

Yes it does. It has the same controls, look and feel of a normal app on your device. The buttons look the same, the list items, the status bar, the page transitions etc..

How does it install to the device?

You visit a url and you will see (and can use) the app in the browser. You then install direct to the device and it will give you a handy icon, just like any other app.

Do you have to open the browser every time to use it?

Not at all. Once installed from the first visit, the user just taps the app icon and it will open...exactly like a normal app. There is no browser window or anything like that. To the user, it looks and feels like a normal app.

Does that mean we cannot use app and device features like Push Notifications and use the camera?

This is the amazing thing about PWA’s. You can still use so many normal app features. You can still use Push Notifications, access the camera, use geo location etc.. Not every single feature is available (background processing for example), but for use in an enterprise environment, this is mostly not needed.

SO WHAT’S THE CATCH?

There is no catch! This technology will only get better and better. There are already some huge corporate companies adopting this approach and for companies wanting a better solution, this really is a no brainer.

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About Author

Michael

Guitar twanging, fitness enthusiast and tech obsessed ‘been-there-coded-in-that’ developer. Founder and brainchild of Planet Wide City.