The term Progressive Web App refers to a group of technologies, such as service workers, and push notifications, that can bring native-like performance and user experience to web apps. The term got coined back in 2015 by designer Frances Berriman and Google Chrome engineer Alex Russell. Some of the characteristics of PWAs are:
- Progressive – Work for every user, regardless of browser choice because they’re built with progressive enhancement as a core tenet.
- Responsive – Fit any form factor: desktop, mobile, tablet, or forms yet to emerge.
- Connectivity independent – Service workers allow work offline, or on low-quality networks.
- App-like – Feel like an app to the user with app-style interactions and navigation.
- Fresh – Always up-to-date thanks to the service worker update process.
- Safe – Served via HTTPS to prevent snooping and ensure content hasn’t been tampered with.
- Discoverable – Are identifiable as “applications” thanks to W3C manifests and service worker registration scope, allowing search engines to find them.
- Re-engageable – Make re-engagement easy through features like push notifications.
- Installable – Allow users to “keep” apps they find most useful on their home screen without the hassle of an app store.
- Linkable – Easily shared via a URL and do not require complex installation.
With WordPress powering 27.1% of all websites on the internet, Matt Mullenweg has set a new goal for the popular content management system: achieving a 50% market share (the majority of websites). However, he recognized that in order to reach that number and grow even further, “it’s more than just blogs and more than just websites”.
Picking up on Matt’s point and looking at the ecosystem created around WordPress (over 100M total themes downloads and +1B plugins downloads from WordPress.org), I believe it’s time for the WordPress community to step up and establish itself as a technology trendsetter, potentially defining the web trends for years to come.