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Progressive web apps, also known as PWAs, are popular web applications that are adopted by many leading brands. But there can be challenges in testing them. Here, we answer what are progressive web apps? And we break down considerations and challenges in testing them.
Progressive web apps are types of web applications that are regular webpages or websites. But they can appear to the user like traditional apps or native mobile apps.
Progressive web apps combine features offered by modern browsers with the benefits of a mobile experience.
Progressive web apps are:
So what’s the difference between web apps, progressive web apps, and native apps?
The biggest difference is that a progressive web app is a boosted web app. It acts like a native app but it operates in a browser — so you don’t need to download an app from the App Store or Google Play.
Progressive web apps are more efficient and economical than native apps.
That means you need separate resources — and sometimes even separate teams — just to develop the technology.
Plus, you have to go through the process of deploying the Apple App Store or Google Play any time you:
This can result in delays in your schedule.
With progressive web apps, you get the same advantages of standard web applications. You can change anything on your website — backend or frontend — and push it live to production without relying on application store developers.
The mobile capabilities in a progressive web app are rich in functionality. For instance, a progressive web app has offline caching, so the user can still engage when not connected to the internet.
A progressive application is built on top of any website that you have. It consists of two key components you’ll need your developers to implement.
Manifest.JSON is a text file that profiles the entire website. It gives you the name, the link, and the landing homepage of the website when you create it as an installable app on your mobile device.
Service worker is the most important implementation behind the progressive website. It's the brains behind the website.
Service worker allows you to implement:
You can build a progressive web app using a PWA builder (there are many of these available). Or if you have the development resources, you can build it yourself.
So, there are many advantages of building a progressive web app. But what does testing look like?
Testing progressive web apps can be challenging. Here are some of the top challenges.
Progressive web apps are young and growing compared to standard websites. This can make them more difficult to test.
The architecture of progressive web apps is not as simple as responsive web design sites. Your developers need to understand the logic behind working with service workers and managing events, states, caching, and more.
Your frontend developers will need to catch up with this technology to be successful.
The caching is very sophisticated in progressive web apps. And there are differences between iOS and Android. For example, iOS limits the caching on an iOS device, but Android is a bit more free.
There aren't that many open source or third party integrations working with progressive web apps. It's growing, but it's not yet perfect. This can be another challenge when you’re building a website.
Maintaining OS updates can be a challenge. You’ll want to make sure that you are keeping up with the market. You don’t want to cause any regression as a new smartphone or tablet operating system is introduced.
Consider the following progressive web app quality metrics for testing:
Here’s a test plan for responsive web apps. The first six steps come from a test plan for responsive web apps. The last six steps are specific to progressive web apps.
When building progressive web apps, you need to consider testing. And progressive web app testing is better with Perfecto.
For instance, you can use a framework like Appium that supports testing of progressive web apps. And Appium integrates with Perfecto.
So you can use Perfecto with Appium to test progressive web apps and:
See for yourself how Perfecto makes progressive web app testing better. Get started today with a free 14-day trial.