If you’re looking to hire progressive web app developers, there are a few things you should keep in mind. In this guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about PWAs and how to find the best developers for your project.
What’s a Progressive Web App?
A progressive web app is a web application that uses modern web technologies to deliver an app-like experience. PWAs are fast, reliable, and engaging, making them perfect for businesses that want to provide a great user experience without the need to develop a native app.
PWAs use service workers to cache static assets and work offline. They also use web app manifest files to give the app a native-like feel, making it possible to add the app to the home screen and even launch it without an internet connection.
Advantages of Progressive Web Apps
PWAs are installable, linkable, discoverable, re-engageable, network independent, responsive, safe, and fast.
- Installable: PWAs are installable, which means they can be added to a device’s home screen without going through an app store. That makes it easy for users to find and launch the app. It also eliminates the need for data connection to use the app.
- Discoverable: Since a progressive web app is a website, search engines can index it. That makes it discoverable in search results, which gives businesses a new way to reach their target audience.
- Re-engageable: Mobile app users are more likely to return to reuse an app than a website. PWAs can take advantage of this by sending push notifications to users even when they’re not using the app. That helps businesses keep their brand top of mind and encourages customers to return.
- Network independent: One of the biggest advantages of progressive web apps is that they can work offline. You don’t have to worry about low internet connectivity or no connectivity at all. The app will still work, making it possible to reach a larger audience in areas with poor or no internet connection.
- Responsive: Progressive web apps are responsive. Meaning they look great on any device, regardless of screen size or resolution. That’s important for businesses that want to reach a wider audience, including those using their mobile devices.
- Safe: Progressive web apps are safe to use since they’re built using modern web technologies. Your data is secure, and you don’t have to worry about malware or viruses.
- Fast: Progressive web apps are fast. They use service workers to cache static assets, so the app loads quickly, even on a slow internet connection.
- App-like: Progressive web apps look and feel like native mobile apps. They can be made on the app shell model and have the least page refreshes.
How Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) Work
PWA is quite a broad term. Broad in the sense that there are many ways to develop and distribute a PWA.
In layman’s terms, a PWA is a website effectively used and displayed like a native app. A perfect example would be something like Phonegap or Cordova, where you’re bundling a web view within an app to make it feel more like a native app.
At a high level, here’s how a PWA works:
- The user visits a website that’s built as a PWA.
- The website requests certain permissions from the user, such as push notifications or location data.
- The user grants the permissions and is redirected to the PWA’s home screen.
- The PWA loads quickly and feels like a native app on the device.
- The user can use the PWA offline or with low internet connectivity.
- The PWA can send push notifications to the user, even when not using the app.
- The user can launch the PWA from their home screen, just like a native app.
Differences Between PWAs and Native Apps
There are a few critical differences between progressive web apps and native apps.
Native apps are developed specifically for a particular platform, iOS or Android. They’re designed to take advantage of the platform’s features and can be installed directly on the device.
Another key difference is that PWAs are generally lighter and faster than native apps. That’s because they’re not built using platform-specific code. They’re also not as feature-rich as native apps since they don’t have access to the platform’s features.
PWAs are cheaper to develop than native apps. That’s because you don’t need to learn a new language or use specific development tools. You can use the same tools and technologies that you already know to develop a PWA.
Not to consider the resources you’ll need to maintain and update a native app, PWAs are overall less expensive.
PWAs also don’t require the same approval process as native apps. You can publish a PWA on the web, and it will be available to users immediately. Native apps have to be approved by the app store before making them available to users.
PWAs are also time-saving, considering you only need to build a single codebase for all platforms. You don’t need to create a separate codebase for iOS and Android.
Safety and Security
One of the benefits of using a PWA is that it’s more secure than a traditional website. That’s because PWAs use HTTPS to encrypt all data between the user and the website. That prevents anyone from eavesdropping on or tampering with the data.
Native apps are a bit hard to secure. To make them safe, you have to implement various security measures, like multi-factor authentication and encryption.
PWAs can also be packaged with webhooks, which allow the app to send and receive data from a server. That can be used for things like authentication and data storage.
Installation and Updates
Native apps have to be downloaded and installed from an app store. That’s extra work for the user. While this might work for some users, it’s just too much friction for others.
On the other hand, PWAs run from the browser and don’t need to be installed. Also, the user can add the PWA to their home screen from the browser with just a few taps.
Moreover, PWAs are also updated automatically. Whenever a new version of the PWA is published, it’s automatically updated on the user’s device. The user doesn’t need to update the app manually.
Usage and Engagement
Since PWAs are websites, they can be used on any device that has a web browser. That includes laptops, desktops, smartphones, and tablets.
The Difference Between PWAs and Conventional Websites
PWAs are similar to websites, but there are some key differences. The key difference is that PWAs can be installed on a device just like a native app.
When to Use a PWA
Now that you know the difference between PWAs and native apps, you might be wondering when you should use a PWA.
- When you Want to Reach a Wider Audience: If you want to reach a wider audience, PWAs are an excellent option. That’s because they can be installed on any device, regardless of the platform.
- When You Don’t Need Access to Platform Features: A PWA could make a good option if you don’t need access to platform features, such as the camera or contacts list.
- When You Need to Develop Quickly: If you need to develop quickly, PWAs are an excellent option. That’s because they’re easier to create than native apps, especially since you don’t need to know a specific platform.
- When You Have Limited Resources: PWAs don’t require the same level of resources as native apps. You don’t need a team of developers with specific platform knowledge. They’re also lighter and faster, so they don’t need as many resources to run as native apps.
- When You Need to Iterate Quickly: If you need to iterate quickly, PWAs are the way to go. That’s because they’re easier to update than native apps. You can deploy a new version of the PWA without necessarily going through an app store.
- When You’re Targeting Older Devices: Native may require the user to have the latest operating system installed on their device. But PWAs will work on any device, regardless of the operating system in use and whether or not it’s an updated version. They’ll still work.
- When You’re Developing for Multiple Platforms: You don’t need to develop different app versions for each platform. You can create the app once, and it will work on all devices.
Requirements to Get Started with PWA Development
If you want to create a PWA that looks and feels like a native app, you can use a framework, such as React Native or Ionic.
Here are just a few things you need to get started with PWA development:
If you’re not familiar with Angular, don’t worry. There are plenty of other frameworks that you can use to develop PWAs. Some other popular frameworks you can use include React, Ionic, Vue.js, and Polymer.
All PWAs must be served over HTTPS. That’s because PWAs use service workers, which are only supported on HTTPS.
You can generate a free SSL certificate using Let’s Encrypt. Alternatively, you can use a paid SSL certificate from a provider like Comodo or Symantec.
You can think of the application shell as the foundation of your PWA. It’s what makes your PWA feel like a native app.
Service workers are scripts that run in the background and provide offline support, among other things.
They’re an essential part of PWAs. Without service workers, your PWA would be nothing more than a website.
Service workers can complete tasks even when the user is offline. For example, they can cache website data so the user can still interact with a site’s content even when the site is offline.
Here are more functions of service workers:
- Sending push notifications
- Background syncing
- Pre-caching static assets
- Badging icons
- Running background fetch tasks
Web App Manifest
The web app manifest is a JSON file that contains information about your PWA. It includes the name, icons, launch screen, and other details about your app.
The file contains the information that tells your PWA how to appear and function. It allows you to determine your PWA’s name, icon, colours, description, and other features.
Here’s an example of a web app manifest:
“description”: “All dev stories under one roof”,
“Scope”: “/”, “orientation”: “portrait”,
Audit Your Web App for PWA Compatibility
That is possible with the Google Lighthouse tool.
It is an open-source, automated tool that helps you improve the quality of your web apps. Lighthouse runs in Chrome Developer Tools and audits your app for PWA features, performance, accessibility, and more.
You can use Lighthouse to test your existing website or web app for PWA compatibility. It will help you identify any areas that need improvement.
Google is one of the biggest champions of PWAs. They have been pushing them as the future of the web.
What to Look for in Progressive Web App Developers
Progressive web apps aren’t just for big companies. Any business, no matter the size, can benefit from a PWA.
Not all PWA developers are created equal, though. So, what should you look for when hiring one?
Experience with Progressive Web Apps
Your PWA developer must have experience with PWAs. They should know all the ins and outs of developing and deploying them.
Experience with Angular, React, Ionic, Vue.js, or Polymer
If your PWA developer doesn’t have experience with one of these frameworks, they’re probably aren’t cut out for the job.
Experience with Service Workers
Service workers are a vital part of PWAs.
They provide offline support and other features. Your PWA developer should have experience working with them.
Experience with the Web App Manifest
The web app manifest is a JSON file that contains information about your app. It’s used to determine your PWA’s name, icon, colours, description, and other features.
Experience with HTTPS
All PWAs must be served over HTTPS. That’s because they use service workers, which are only supported on HTTPS. Your PWA developer should have experience setting up SSL certificates and configuring https.
Experience with Google Analytics or Firebase
Google Analytics and Firebase are essential for tracking the success of your PWA. Your PWA developer should be familiar with both services.
Experience with Chrome Developer Tools
Chrome Developer Tools is used to audit your app for PWA features. Your PWA developer should be familiar with it enough to use it to troubleshoot problems.
Excellent Communication Skills
Since PWAs are a new technology, there will probably be some questions. Your PWA developer should communicate with you effectively and explain everything in detail.
Passion for Progressive Web Apps
PWAs are the future of the web. Your PWA developer should have a passion for them and be excited to work on them.
If your PWA developer meets all of these qualifications, you’ve found the right one.
Of course, you’ll also want to consider the cost of hiring a PWA developer. The average rate for PWA development is $50-$100 per hour.
Now that you know what to look for in a PWA developer, it’s time to hire one.
Look for PWA Development Services
Many companies offer PWA development services. That is a great place to start your search.
Ask Your Existing Web Developer If They Offer PWA Development
If you already have a web developer, ask them if they offer PWA development. Many web developers are now offering this service.
Post a Job on Upwork, Toptal, or another freelancing site
If you want to hire a freelancer, post a job on Upwork, Toptal, or another freelancing site. Be sure to include all the qualifications listed above in your job posting.
Ask for Recommendations
If you know someone who has already developed a PWA, ask them for recommendations. They may know someone who would be a great fit for your project.
Do a Google Search
A simple Google search can also help you find a PWA developer. Just search for “progressive web app developer” or “PWA development company.”
Once you’ve found a few PWA developers, it’s time to start the interview process.
Interview Questions to Ask Progressive Web App Developers
What’s your experience with Progressive Web Apps (PWA)?
The first question you should ask is about their experience with PWAs. You want to make sure they have experience developing and deploying them.
Do you have experience with any frameworks?
As we mentioned before, your PWA developer should have experience with at least one of the popular frameworks. Examples include React, Angular, and Vue.js.
Any past work you can share with me?
Your PWA developer should be able to share some past work with you. That will give you an idea of their skills and experience.
Do you have any questions for me?
Be sure to ask your PWA developer if they have any questions for you. This will help you gauge their interest in the project.
What’s your availability?
Be sure to ask about their availability. You want to make sure they have enough time to work on your project.
What’s your rate?
Of course, you’ll also want to ask about their rate. The average rate for PWA development is $50-$100 per hour. Are there any hidden charges?
What’s the estimated time for the project?
Make sure to ask about the estimated time for the project. You don’t want it to take too long or be rushed.
Do you have any experience with (specific PWA feature)?
If there’s a specific PWA feature you’re interested in, ask your PWA developer if they have any experience with it.
How would you go about (specific task)?
If you have a specific task, you want your PWA developer to do, ask them how they would go about it. That will give you an idea of their approach to problem-solving.
What’s your favourite part about working with PWAs?
That is a great question to gauge their interest and excitement in PWAs. You want a PWA developer who is passionate about them.
Once you’ve found a PWA developer you’re interested in working with, it’s time to move forward with the project. Be sure to have a written agreement, so everyone is clear on the expectations and timeline.
How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Progressive Web App Developer?
Now that you know what to look for in a PWA developer, it’s time to hire one.
But before you do, you need to know how much it costs.
Keep in mind that the cost may vary depending on the project, the developer’s experience and skills, and the location.
The biggest deciding factor is usually the PWA application itself. We’re talking about the functionality, style, features, and design. In general, the cost is determined by the number of hours the developer needs to put in.
As for the developer’s experience and skills, the more experienced and skilled they are, the higher the cost will be.
And lastly, the location is also a big factor. PWA developers in countries like the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia tend to charge more than developers in less developed countries, such as India, Pakistan, Africa, and Brazil.
To give you a better idea of how much it would cost to hire a PWA developer, we’ve tried to summarize everything in this section of the post:
The Cost of Developing a Progressive Web App in Different Countries
A casual glance over the web shows that developers tend to charge between $1000 and $10000 to develop a simple Progressive Web App.
On the other hand, Average complexity apps cost between $10,000 and $25,000.
Finally, and unsurprisingly, complex and feature-rich Progressive Web Apps can cost up to $50,000 to develop, sometimes more.
To give you a rough estimate of how much it costs to develop a PWA (using 30/hour rates as average), we’d say a basic PWA would cost about $5,000, while an intermediate complex PWA would cost upwards of $15,000.
For more complex PWA, loaded with features, you should be prepared to shell out $40,000 or more.
Of course, these are only rough estimates. The final cost will still depend on the actual project requirements.
Regionally Hourly PWA development rates:
- Canada and the USA: These regions are considered the priciest. The average development cost is $60 to $150/hour.
- Australia: This is the second most expensive place to develop a PWA. The average hourly rate is $50 to $120/hour.
- South American: Developers here charge an average of $20 to $110 per hour.
- Asia: This region’s average hourly development rate is $10 to $80.
- Africa: PWA development cost less in this region than anywhere else. The average hourly rate is only $10 to $50.
- Indonesia: The rates in this region are much lower, coming in at only $20
The Cost of Developing a PWA based on Development Stages
In most cases, the development process of a PWA will be broken down into five stages:
- PWA Project Requirements validation
- Time and cost savings
- Conversion driven design
- Risk awareness
- Product owner synchronization with the PWA App Vendor
It all starts with the project discovery phase, where the business and development teams work together to define the project requirements. This is generally the most time-intensive phase and can take up to a month to complete.
It involves the following:
- UX/UI Design
- Product backlog
- Product concept
- Structure plan
During this stage, you’ll be provided with clear project documentation detailing the project cost, official project deadline, and all the milestones related to it.
Once the project requirements have been finalized and approved, the development team will build your PWA. That is usually the longest and most expensive stage of development.
The average time spent on this stage is around 1-6 weeks, with a development cost of $1,000 to $10,000.
Note that the price of a PWA design will vary depending on the number of screens/pages, animations, and bespoke features required. Generally, you can expect to pay between $2000 and $5000 for a high-quality design.
Once the design is finalized and approved, the development team can start building the PWA. This stage will usually take 6 to an unspecified number of weeks and cost around $10,000 to $25,000.
Once the PWA is completed, it needs to be tested and deployed. This usually takes around 1-2 weeks and costs $1000 to $2000.
In total, you can expect to spend around 3-12 weeks and $10,000 to $50,000 on development.
What Influences the Cost of PWA Development?
Several factors can affect the cost of developing a PWA. Some of these include:
- The platform or frameworks used
- Type of app (basic or complex)
- Design and front-end development requirements
- Back-end development requirements
- Quality assurance and testing
- Deployment and finalization costs
Hiring in-house developers will always be more expensive than outsourcing or hiring a freelance PWA developer. However, it’s important to remember that the cost of a PWA doesn’t just include development. It also helps to consider other expenses such as design, testing, and deployment.
4 Best Examples of Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) in 2022
To help you understand PWAs and how they differ from traditional web apps, we’ve gathered some of the best examples of PWAs from around the web.
Here are 4 of the best PWAs from 2022:
Starbucks’ main goal was to provide its customers with an accessible, user-friendly online experience. To achieve this, they had to build a PWA of their ordering system, delivering the same experience as their already existing native app.
The Starbucks PWA has the following features:
- Offline mode – allows users to place orders even when they don’t have an internet connection
- Fast loading times – pages load almost instantly, regardless of network conditions
- Integrated payments – customers can pay for their orders with ease
- User notifications – receive real-time updates on your order status
As a pioneering car company, BMW wanted to ensure their website was just as innovative as their cars. They built a PWA that offers an immersive and interactive experience for users.
Some of the features of the BMW PWA include:
- 3D car models – explore every detail of BMW’s latest models
- 360-degree views – get up close and personal with each car
- Videos – watch product videos, BMW racing videos, and more
- Photo galleries – check out the latest photos of BMW cars and events
Soundslice is a music education website that allows users to learn and practice music at their own pace. Their PWA features an offline mode, so users can access content even when they don’t have an internet connection.
Other features of the Soundslice PWA include:
- High-quality audio – all sounds are crisp and clear
- Intuitive notation – easy to read and understand for all levels
- Sheet music – print or download sheet music for practice
MakeMyTrip is a leading travel website in India that helps users book flights, hotels, and more. They decided to build a PWA to improve their user experience and offer an app-like experience without downloading an app.
Some of the features of the MakeMyTrip PWA include:
- Easy navigation – users can easily find what they’re looking for
- Fast loading times – pages load quickly, even on slow networks
- Push notifications – receive updates on flight status, prices, and more
- Discounts and offers – take advantage of exclusive deals and discounts