Progressive Web Apps on the Road

Juniper Belmont
On Oct 13, 2016 3:30:00 PM

Progressive Web Apps have lately been the subject of a lot of discussion in the web development world. While some tout Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) as the future of the web, others are more skeptical, while the majority of developers probably don’t even know what they are! Progressive Web Apps are an emerging technology that is already ready for business today with Vaadin Elements through a framework such as Polymer. It will certainly be the future for any framework - including Vaadin Framework in the very near future.

To further explore the world of Progressive Web Apps, my colleague Marcus and I had the great pleasure to go to a few PWA focused events in the past week, and I even got to speak about them.

What are Progressive Web Apps?

“Progressive Web Applications are a new level of caring about the quality of your user experience.”
--Chris Wilson, Developer Advocate at Google

Firstly, what are Progressive Web Apps? Progressive Web Apps are apps that use the latest web technologies to create high quality web experiences across platforms. High quality web apps are those that are reliable in all connectivity conditions, secure from end to end, and engaging to customers on all platforms and devices. The term Progressive Web App was coined by Frances Berriman and Alex Russell to describe “websites that took all the right vitamins.” These are apps that push the web further into creating great experiences. 

Learn more about Progressive Web Apps at the Google Developers site

Progressive Web Apps Roadshow

Last week, Marcus and I attended the Progressive Web Apps Roadshow, which toured the country and the world this autumn. Run by the Google developer relations team, these events were well organized and very informative. The event was split into two parts: a series of talks followed by codelabs. At Vaadin we have been closely tracking Progressive Web Apps, but we still learned a lot from this event. There was a strong focus on PWAs as -quality- applications. From the talks, we learned how to bake in security and and performance rather than leaving those as nice-to-haves. After the presentations were a series of codelabs, which were really useful, especially since we could ask follow-up questions of the facilitators.

Try the codelabs yourself at the Google Developers Codelabs page

Vaadin is committed to enabling developers to create powerful web apps, and we are going to put a lot more energy into teaching and presenting Progressive Web Apps as a better way to make web apps.

Progressive Web Apps Roadshow
Progressive Web Apps Roadshow

GDG Devfest San Francisco

The following weekend I spoke at the GDG Devfest event in San Francisco, one of a number of events happening this Autumn. It was a great event with a really diverse set of people from all levels of education, experience, and industries.

I gave a talk about Progressive Web Apps titled “Why (not) build Progressive Web Apps.” I presented the case for Progressive Web Apps as a cross platform -alternative- to native apps. PWAs are a powerful tool for building apps on all platforms, but they are not going to simply replace all native apps. When you go to build an application for multiple devices, whether you choose to build a PWA or a native app or both remains as a decision for the architect. 

Click here to view my slide deck

My talk was fairly well received, but as expected, there is still quite some confusion about what Progressive Web Apps are and why someone would build them. The Q and A session after my talk was quite lively and I took many great questions to hopefully elucidate some of the finer points of PWAs. I will also be giving my talk at the GDG Devfest event in Orlando this November, so it’ll be great to talk to even more people about Progressive Web Apps.

GDG Devfest SF
GDG Devfest SF

Progressive Web Apps Workshop

Then this past Monday, Marcus and I went to a Progressive Web App workshop hosted by Microsoft and Mozilla. While much of the conversation today about PWAs has come from Google, it was really wonderful to see the work Microsoft Edge and Mozilla Firefox teams. At the workshop we learned about service workers from some of the people who are actually on the specifications committee! Most of the workshop was codelabs, but there was plenty of time for us to mingle and make connections in the Progressive Web App world. Sometimes it’s not merely about what you learn at these events, but who you meet and can collaborate with in the future. It’ll be great to hear more about Progressive Web Apps from the Mozilla and Microsoft teams.

PWA Workshop
PWA Workshop with Mozilla and Microsoft

Progressive Web Apps and Vaadin

We’re always trying to stay up to date to help our teams at Vaadin create the most relevant and useful products that people use today. We think that Progressive Web Apps are a great new way to write high quality web apps for business, especially with Vaadin Elements and Polymer. Look forward to hearing more about Progressive Web Apps at Vaadin.

Learn more about Vaadin Elements

Juniper Belmont
Juniper Belmont is a genderqueer developer advocate passionate about the open web platform. They love meeting people, talking about their passions, and giving presentations interspersed with bawdy jokes and lavish, mostly true stories.
They use they/them pronouns and they can be found @juniperbelmont
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