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Video: Progressive Web Apps vs. Native Apps, Part 1: Pros

Learn more about progressive web apps at Streaming Media's next event.

Watch the complete video of this presentation from Streaming Media West, T204: HOW-TO: Getting the Most Out of Progressive Web Apps, in the Streaming Media Conference Video Portal.

Read the complete transcript of this clip:

Pieter-Jan Speelmans: What are progressive web apps? It's actually very, very simple. It's right there in the name.

The "progressive" part basically points to the enhanced capabilities that it has. It basically means you use on that platform whatever is available, and if there's something else that is available, you progressively add new functionality on top of it.

The web part is very simple as well. It basically points to that this is something which is built on web technology, using HTML5, using JavaScript, and using CSS.

And then, of course, the app part. That kind of speaks for itself as well. It basically points to the fact that you can run this as you can run any native application on a mobile device or potentially even on a desktop device or another connected device, think SmartTVs, which are also starting to support this kind of approach.

The next question that I then usually get is, "Oh, great. So, this is an application. Can I use this to simplify my approach around apps? Because I am developing way too many apps on way too many platforms, and I want to support more platforms, so it's causing me a number of issues."

The answer is not very simple. The answer is "Yes" on one side, but on the other side, the answer is also "No." It's a little bit more complex than most people would like it to be, but there are a number of pros and cons if you look at progressive web apps.

From one standpoint, if you look at progressive web apps, if you do them well, then basically they can behave in exactly the same way as native applications can behave. That's already a very good tick in the box.

Another advantage that they have is, they can allow you to simplify your application approach, because they work on a lot more platforms than you usually have. Normally, a lot of people build a different app for Android, a different one for iOS, and they have a lot of different code bases. With progressive web apps, you basically get that nice dreamland where you develop an application once, and you can reuse it on all the different platforms.

And even better, if you look at it from a media perspective, you can also almost do everything that you would want to do. You can play your live content, your video on-demand content. It will be rendered in hardware. You can even do DRM with it, running with the hardware DRM that a lot of content owners are requesting these days.

And you can even do some more advanced use cases, like offline viewing, but that's also where a number of strange asterisks appear, because it's not all very happy sunshine throughout the entire day. There are some limitations which are there, and that basically brings me to the "no" side of the story.

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