PWA vs Android and IOS Offline


#1

We have an App designed (not built) which will contain a lot of video clips that will be used in a gym environment on a mobile phone. PWA has popped up as part of the discussion and the App company have dismissed it quickly as a possible solution. One reason given is that PWA’s don’t function well without an internet connection. The other is that videos wont swap seamlessly on a PWA. This vs a native App which will function better. I know we can download video offline with a native App but it looks like you can do that with PWA’s too (service workers). As they are asking for big money we would love to know if PWA’s are better/worse that native apps for this type of application. The content is relatively heavy with video but I dont hear a good argument against PWA’s right now. Any thoughts would be much appreciated. Paul


#2

That’s a strange argument, considering Alex Russel - the guy who created the term PWA - specifically defines it as “Connectivity independent : Progressively-enhanced with Service Workers to let them work offline”: https://infrequently.org/2015/06/progressive-apps-escaping-tabs-without-losing-our-soul/

However:

This could be a problem because of the offline storage amount you get, which is browser dependent: https://developers.google.com/web/fundamentals/instant-and-offline/web-storage/offline-for-pwa

However, and I could be wrong on this, that limitation is true if you only have a website. If you wrap your PWA with something like Cordova you could access the devices native filesystem API and store files that way. In fact, I feel like that would be a trivial thing…but again, it’s been a while since I’ve actually wrapped a PWA for this purpose.

This feels like a strange argument as well. A video inside a PWA is just a URI to the video source attached to a <video> tag. I’m not really sure what they mean by “function better” - a video is a video.

I don’t want to argue against the company blindly since I don’t know all the details, but from the info you’ve provided I’d say PWA’s would be better because:

  • Performance should be negligible
  • Would be cheaper to build
  • Would be cheaper (and easier) to maintain in the future
  • Your codebase would be much smaller
  • Iteration (adding features etc) should be much faster

#3

Thanks for your replies. Very insightful and very much appreciated. As Apps and PWA’s both really need internet connectivity to function 100% as designed, our issue is if a user is in a limited or zero connectivity environment for a period of time, would an App have more capability to run our application smoothly by caching more content (video) that a progress web app or is there not much or any difference?. We don’t really need too much phone OS access (apart from push notifications) so full integration with the phone is not really required.
Kindest Regards
Paul