What's this 'Add to homescreen' : That's an app!

Hi there,
Have you ever wondered what is this Add to homescreen I always see when I am browsing the internet? Well, this is an article just for you.
You might have heard, or never heard about PWAs at all. You may be wondering what this article is about. Well, it doesn't matter really if you are a developer or not, because you need to know about this.

Let's start: What is a PWA?

A PWA stands for Progressive Web App. I won't go into details about that, because the major thing I want to emphasise on is, you don't need to install apps from stores, as long as they are PWA enabled

Why PWAs?

Sometimes you might not have space on your phone, and you need to install an app, yet Google PlayStore won't allow you to
at all. We have a simple trick, that will install that app, only if it is available as a website.

It's not all Sun and Shine

Don't put your hopes us though, not all Website Apps, have this feature available but, you might be lucky and it actually has a PWA version.

How do I know it is PWA enabled?

The website that is PWA enabled should automatically, pop up at the bottom of the screen with a message saying:

Add to homescreen

on chrome, (definitely on Google Chrome for Mobile).
On Desktop, the same applies when you see a + in a circular button, on the address bar.

In addition, the various browsers, such as Samsung Internet, the new Microsoft Edge, Firefox, Safari and Chrome, can have the same effect if you look for the "Add to homescreen", doesn't matter the browser you are using.

Adding The app

Once you tap on add to homescreen or install as an app, it will package the website as an application, as it should now appear as an application on your device.

The app should be installed and should work as any other app would and will even appear on your Launcher!

Advantages of PWAS

  1. PWAs can be installed on devices without space.
  2. Some work Offline
  3. Are fast and can be updated seamlessly. You will never worry about updating them because they are updated from the server thus, you get the latest version automatically
  4. They have less control over your device, so you are safer from malicious apps.
  5. For developers, it is much easier to deploy for all platforms since they work using the same codebase

Limitations of PWAs

They aren't as powerful as native apps (These are apps that are normally installed normally and are built to be used on phones). This means, they can't do the same things other apps do such as interacting with hardware.

So if you see the Add to homescreen pop up, then its definitely a PWA.

Come on, head over to twitter and try it out!

See you in the next one!

Karim K. Kanji

I love tech and making solutions for the society using Tech is my greatest passion! ❤