Ada-Rose Edwards @Lady_Ada_King is a Web Developer, Developer Advocate for Samsung Internet and self-proclaimed “Web Fangirl”. She’s been instrumental in the development of the Financial Times App, one of the first applications to use HTML5 to deliver a great cross-platform experience that rivaled the quality of native apps. She is based in London, England and you can find her on the web at ada.is.
We invited her to chat with Chris Heilmann about the concept of Progressive Web Apps, what new technologies like Service Worker mean for the web and a few more of the technologies she explained in her article “The Building Blocks of Progressive Web Apps“. She had a lot of great insights into application development for the web and tips and tricks how to make them work for everybody.
If you prefer to have an audio version, you can download it here (MP3, 24MB)
Here are the questions we covered:
- Ada, you just wrote on Smashing Magazine about “The building blocks of progressive web apps”. Can you give a quick repeat on what they are?
- We’ve had a few attempts at using web technology to build app like experiences. A lot of them left end users disappointed. What do you think were the main mistakes developers did?
- Is the “app shell” model a viable one or is this against the idea of “content first” web sites turning into apps?
- You worked on one of the poster-child web-technology based apps in the past – the Financial Times app. What were the main challenges you faced there?
- It seems that in the mobile space it is OK to abandon platforms that arent’ used much any longer, should that be something to consider for the web and browsers, too?
- Progressive Web apps do away with the concept of a need of an app store. This is more convenient, but it also poses a UX challenge. Users aren’t expecting a web site to work offline. What can we do to break that assumption?
- The wonderful thing about PWAs is that they are progressive, which means that platforms that don’t support ServiceWorkers should still have a good experience and fall back to a classic “add to homescreen” scenario. What can we do to avoid people forgetting about this and build “this app needs Chrome on latest Android” apps instead?
- Are responsive interfaces a unique skill of web developers? Is it something we learned simply because of the nature of the platform?
- The distribution model of PWAs is the hyperlink. You pointed out rightfully in your article that there needs to be a way to share this link and send it to others. Hardliners of the web also argue that a URL should be visible and “hackable”. Do you think this is a valid need?
- What about Instant Apps on Android? Aren’t they a threat to Progressive Web Apps?
- What can we do to avoid PWAs becoming the new “m.example.com”? The average web site it too big and slow to become and app. How high are your hopes that this new approach could help the web as a whole become slimmer?