Although Progressive Web Apps (PWA) have been around for quite long, they have gained popularity in the past few years due to their ability to provide mobile users with a more immersive experience that is comparable to that of Native apps. For organizations, progressive web app frameworks bring several advantages such as being adaptable across different platforms, devices, and hardware, besides ranking the app on search engines.
The first step in Progressive Web Apps development is to decide which framework to use. While there are several options available, it’s advisable to evaluate the pros and cons of each Progressive Web Apps frameworks before deciding on the most suitable one.
The most popular Progressive Web Apps Frameworks:
- Large community and extensive support as Google maintain it.
- Clearly defined methodology for implementation.
- MVC framework.
- Newer versions have a smaller learning curve due to CLI.
- Comes with Typescript and IntelliSense.
- The older version requires a high level of expertise.
- It is quite complex compared to some of the other frameworks.
- The learning curve is steeper, as one has to learn Typescript.
- The largest community, supported by Facebook, which owns and maintains the code.
- Extensive ecosystem.
- Developing apps using React offers a high degree of flexibility and easy scalability.
- The same code can be used for Native as well as web apps.
- A moderate learning curve compared to some other frameworks.
- Rendering is speedy with Virtual-DOM.
- The framework is more programmer oriented as it requires knowledge of JSX.
- The high degree of flexibility often poses an issue.
- Lack of clearly defined methodology for implementation, since the community is relatively new and still evolving.
- Migrating from Angular JS requires a complete rewrite using JSX.
Currently, Vue has one of the fastest-growing libraries as its high-speed rendering and simplicity of coding makes it popular among developers. Like React, Vue is a progressive web app framework that allows scaling the project with the addition of extra packages.
- Supported by Alibaba and Laravel, it is growing to be the preferred PWA framework of many of the big players.
- The simplicity of the code reduces the learning curve for new developers.
- Its structure is simple and features many concepts from the React and Angular 1 frameworks.
- Extremely flexible to set up using JSX and Typescript.
- Speedy rendering using Virtual-DOM.
- It has a very small support team since it is owned by a single person (compared to React and Angular, which is owned and supported by big players).
- The extreme flexibility in its structure sometimes poses issues.
- It requires a significant amount of conversion in the legacy code from the existing Angular 1.5.
Introduced in 2013 as an open-source SDK, Ionic, which is based on the Angular framework and Apache Cordova, has been used for developing over 5 million hybrid apps. It has a library of components for both iOS and Android. Ionic allows developers to create web pages that run inside the browser of a device using WebView, which essentially renders web pages so that they resemble a native app.
- Reduces the cost of development as it is free and Open Source.
- A shorter learning curve as it can be used by anyone familiar with web technologies and Angular.
- Easy maintenance using debugging tools and built-in browser instruments.
- Its popularity for hybrid app development has resulted in building a large community of active users.
- Large library of plug-ins for accessing APIs without the need for coding.
- Frequent updates require reworking the existing app to reflect the latest changes.
An Open Source framework developed by Google, Polymer offers an extensive range of tools, templates and web components that simplifies the process of a PWA development. It uses pure JS/HTML/CSS, making it an independent PWA framework.
- A wide base of components, including web components that work across various browsers.
- Full web app stack support, including data tier, routing, and responsive layouts.
- Excellent documentation covering all phases of the app development.
- Easy to understand API.
- Browser embedded development tools ensure no need for special debugging tools.
- Absence of server-side rendering results in high reloading time, low SEO-friendliness and increased HTTP requests.
- No official IDE.
Founded by Microsoft, PWA Builder is an open-source, community guided framework that supports iOS and Android app development. It provides one of the quickest ways to build components for a PWA that functions across platforms and devices.
In the end, the decision on which Progressive Web App framework to use for your app depends on the skills and expertise of your developers. With the high frequency of updates every few months, the choice of a specific framework doesn’t matter as much as the ease of updating the app. At TechAhead, a leading mobile app development company, our team of app developers has experience in working on diverse Progressive Web Apps frameworks for app development and maintenance, since we have helped clients from across the globe develop hundreds of mobile and cross-platform apps.