These days Progressive Web Apps (PWA) are the talk of the town, mainly due to their amazing usability and unique user experience. With the combined features of websites and native apps, PWAs are becoming a norm for multi-device web applications allowing developers to build fast-loading dynamic apps without using hybrid frameworks.

I believe Progressive Web Apps are the future of websites – and in the following write up I’ll be discussing its benefits and use cases to give you the whole the picture. Let’s get on to it.

What are Progressive Web Apps?

The term “Progressive Web Apps” was first coined by Alex Rusell (a developer of Google Chrome) and Frances Berriman (a designer). Alex shared his idea about Progressive Web Apps that “These apps aren’t packaged and deployed through stores, they’re just websites that took all the right vitamins“.

Sites that want to send you notifications or be on your home screen have to earn that right over time as you use them more and more. They progressively become “apps”“, wrote Alex about PWA’ appiness. Finally, he concluded, “these apps can deliver an even better user experience than traditional web apps“. is a known is a known PWA

Web Apps vs. Progressive Web Apps

Web apps, or traditional web apps, are the client-side apps that run directly in a web browser. Though they are better than websites yet they have their issues. If you do not know the difference between web apps and sites, web apps differ from websites because web apps look and feel like native apps.

That being said, Progressive Web Apps are the next generation of web apps that work more like native apps by making use of the device’s native enhancements. For example, Progressive Web Apps can make use of native features like camera, beacons, etc. along with features like offline cache, push notifications, etc.

Why do we need Progressive Web Apps?

We have native apps, on the one hand, that are unbelievably fast and reliable even in the worst situations like slow or no connectivity. But then, we have websites and web apps, on the other hand, that are slow and do not work well in no network conditions. That is why most people prefer native apps.

Websites don't work without internetWebsites don't work without internet

Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP), a project encouraged by Google, was started in 2016 to solve slow connection issues, especially on smartphones, and provide better user experience to mobile users. However, AMP does not solve problems of no network issues. Also, it does not speed up the loading time as much as native apps, and again, it posses few limitations to achieve this speed.

That is why we need Progressive Web Apps. PWAs provide the best possible user experience in slow or no network conditions. For example, PWA can show a progress screen when it is loading the content or a splash screen when there is no web connectivity respectively.

Why Progressive Web Apps make sense?

As specified by comScore’s 2017 U.S. Mobile App Report, app users spend almost 77 percent of their time on their top three apps, while rest of the apps stay idle but still block the system resources including memory. Moreover, it also shares that 50 percent of users download zero apps a month. This fact suggests users hesitate to install new apps, and thus PWA has an edge.

I find people mostly go for websites on desktops but prefer apps on mobile devices (native apps, of course). The reason being, computers offer a lot more network resources than smartphones, and apps consume fewer resources than their counterpart websites. Also, they are quick and reliable.

Moreover, native apps cost a lot more than websites – as much as five to ten times or more depending on the type of the project. Also, their cost can multiply if there is a need to develop native apps for multiple platforms (say Android and iOS) with different code bases. However, PWA can help minimize such high development costs, thanks to its support for various platforms.

Progressive Web Apps features

Progressive Web Apps have many direct features which make them distinct than their simpler counterparts, i.e., web apps (or simpler ones – websites):

  • Responsive. Work on all devices of any screen size.
  • Offline-first. Load in slow or no network as well.
  • App-like feel. Look and interact like a native app.
  • Up-to-date. Update on their own, almost transparently.
  • Safe & secure. Use HTTPS to load page resources.
  • Discoverable. Avail content to the search engines.
  • Re-engageable. Re-engage, say using notifications.
  • Installable. Can be placed on your home screen.
  • Linkable. Load app-like pages, but with URLs.

What I find interesting is, Progressive Web Apps do not just look and feel like native apps but also have access to device’s native features. That means a PWA can take a snap of you using your device’s camera. However, I must share that it does not get access to limited features like location, phone, or SMS.

Note: You can read more about its features and other details in this post.

Creating Progressive Web Apps?

Google provides a “Progressive Web App Checklist” – a detail list to help the beginners create Progressive Web Apps. This no-guide list shares the necessary features to create PWAs – a “Baseline PWA” and an “Exemplary PWA”; the former lists crucial things for a basic app and the latter for an advanced app.

Lighthouse is an open-source toolLighthouse is an open-source tool

Moreover, there are various tools to assist you in building a PWA. For example, Lighthouse is a free, open-source tool to improve a webpage including quality checks for accessibility, performance, and PWA features. Another featureful tool is Workbox, which helps to build apps with offline-first experience.

Are Progressive Web Apps the future?

Though Progressive Web Apps may not solve all our app problems or replace native apps in some near future, yet I believe it will play a significant role, thanks to its benefits that are far more than its limitations. And with almost every big platform starting to support PWAs, it is not far we will see them everywhere.

Apple introduced PWA features (Web APIs) in Safari 11.1 including Beacon API, Service Workers, Web App Manifest, etc.; thus bringing PWAs to iOS soon if not already. Google has already supported PWAs in Chrome for Android, and it is planning to bring it to desktop platforms as well. Microsoft also added support for PWAs in Microsoft Edge and will list them in Microsoft Store as well.

What do you think – are Progressive Web Apps the future? Let me know directly at @aksinghnet or write a comment through the below comments section to leave your response.

via Hongkiat


Posted by Jan-Felix Schmakeit, Google Photos Developer Lead

People create and consume photos and videos in many different ways, and we think it should be easier to do more with the photos you’ve taken, across all the apps and devices you use.

That’s why we’re introducing a new Google Photos partner program that gives you the tools and APIs to build photo and video experiences in your products that are smarter, faster and more helpful.

Building with the Google Photos Library API

With the Google Photos Library API, your users can seamlessly access their photos whenever they need them.

Whether you’re a mobile, web, or backend developer, you can use this REST API to utilize the best of Google Photos and help people connect, upload, and share from inside your app.

Your user is always in the driver’s seat. Here are a few things you can help them to do:

  • Easily find photos, based on
    • what’s in the photo
    • when it was taken
    • attributes like description and media format
  • Upload directly to their photo library
  • Organize albums and add titles and locations
  • Use shared albums to easily transfer and collaborate

With the Library API, you don’t have to worry about maintaining your own storage and infrastructure, as photos and videos remain safely backed up in Google Photos.

Putting machine intelligence to work in your app is simple too. You can use smart filters, like content categories, to narrow down or exclude certain types of photos and videos and make it easier for your users to find the ones they’re looking for.

We’ve also aimed to take the hassle out of building a smooth user experience. Features like thumbnailing and cross-platform deep-links mean you can offload common tasks and focus on what makes your product unique.

Getting started

Today, we’re launching a developer preview of the Google Photos Library API. You can start building and testing it in your own projects right now.

Get started by visiting our developer documentation where you can also express your interest in joining the Google Photos partner program. Some of our early partners, including HP, Legacy Republic, NixPlay, Xero and TimeHop are already building better experiences using the API.

If you are following Google I/O, you can also join us for our session to learn more.

We’re excited for the road ahead and look forward to working with you to develop new apps that work with Google Photos.

via Google Developers Blog

ZTE may not be the biggest name in smartphones in the United States, but the Chinese company has built itself up as a regular player particularly in the budget segment. Today, though, the United States government has banned US companies from selling to the Chinese company.

The best gifts for Android users

Last year, ZTE plead guilty in a federal court for conspiring to illegally ship US goods and tech to Iran, violating US sanctions. ZTE paid nearly $900 million in fines and fired multiple employees in accordance with the court.

However, ZTE was also supposed to “discipline” 35 other employees, which the company has since admitted to having not done. As reported by Reuters, this violation of terms in the sanctions case has resulted in a ban on American companies selling to ZTE. A US official states:

[ZTE] provided information back to us basically admitting that they had made these false statements. That was in response to the U.S. asking for the information. We can’t trust what they are telling us is truthful, and in international commerce, truth is pretty important.

A lawyer representing suppliers to ZTE said that this ban is “highly unusual” and that it will be “devastating to the company.” It’s estimated that 25-30% of ZTE’s components come from US companies, both in the company’s networking gear and smartphone products.

Check out 9to5Google on YouTube for more news:

via 9to5Google

Facebook will change the way it administers its terms of service (TOS) for 1.5 million users in Africa, Asia, Australia and Latin America, the company confirmed today. Though users in those territories previously agreed to TOS dictated by the company’s corporate entity in the EU nation of Ireland, now they must legally agree to be bound by the US-based corporation’s terms.

The move, reported by Reuters today, comes as the EU prepares to begin enforcing the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) next month, and it means that only European Facebook users will immediately gain the personal data protections offered by the law. Facebook maintains, however, that the shift has nothing to do with GDPR, despite the timing, and says that all users everywhere will get the same privacy protection.

[Read the full article on MarTech Today.]

About The Author

Robin Kurzer started her career as a daily newspaper reporter in Milford, Connecticut. She then made her mark on the advertising and marketing world in Chicago at agencies such as Tribal DDB and Razorfish, creating award-winning work for many major brands. For the past seven years, she’s worked as a freelance writer and communications professional across a variety of business sectors.

via Marketing Land

St. Elmo Public Market, an ambitious development similar to Seattle’s Pike Place or New York City’s Chelsea Market, announced on April 13 that construction has begun and three tenants have signed on. 

First announced in 2015, St. Elmo will include a boutique hotel, office space, 385 apartment units, and a monster 40,000-square-foot public market. The indoor-outdoor space will house a variety of restaurants, a butcher, fishmonger, bakeries, florists, and a brewery among its vendors.

The project was conceptualized by Andersson-Wise Architects and will be built on the former site of a school bus factory. Partner Arthur Andersson looked to preserve the character of the midcentury warehouse in the design, saying in a release that “the beautiful steel structure and clerestory monitor windows of the original 1950 warehouse have been carefully renovated, providing dramatic natural light and vintage materiality to this new market space.”

The first vendors come from some of the biggest names in Austin food. First up is Mignette, from Olamaie chef and owner Michael Fojtasek. Following the recent shift in Austin to more casual all-day restaurants, the eatery will offer an accessible menu for breakfast, lunch, and dinner — available for dining in-house or from a takeout counter.

Salt & Time will expand its operation to include a new concept that celebrates local producers. In addition to a butcher shop with the restaurant’s acclaimed cured meats, the location will sell fresh produce grown by area farms, dry goods, meal kits, and a selection of frozen goods.

Lastly, Texas Hill Country Olive Company will bring its award-winning olive oils to the market. Owners John Gambini and daughter Cara Gambini run a destination olive orchid and tasting room in Dripping Springs, but the Austin shop will be the first proper retail outlet for the brand.

Throughout 2018, the development will continue to announce more vendors, including a brewpub, chocolate company, seafood shop, coffee shop, and a few fast casual concepts expected in the next 60 days. The space, located off South Congress Avenue between Industrial Boulevard and St. Elmo Road, is set to debut in spring 2019.

via News Feed – CultureMap Austin

Tips for Starting a Business Blog

Having a blog is important to the long-term success of a small business’s marketing strategy and the overall reputation of the business. Knowing how to begin blogging can be confusing, leaving many people staring at a blank screen. If you’ve started your small business blog but don’t know what to do next, consider the following seven tips to push past the introductory phase and start thriving.

Tips for Starting a Business Blog

Make a Budget for Time and Money

Maintaining your blog is time-consuming, so before you begin, make a plan for how much time per week you can realistically devote to preparing and marketing the content. Depending on the content, putting in about one to three hours per post is a good standard. Allocating the right amount of resources when establishing your blog will have a huge impact on its long-term success, so in addition to budgeting your time, you might want to make room in your budget for:

  • Advertising on social media platforms
  • Plugins and other features for your blog
  • Expenses to make specific content for your blog such as videos and audio podcasts
  • Marketing expenses for newsletters and alternative promotional means
  • Website hosting if your website doesn’t have blogging capabilities

Determine Your Main Objective

When determining the purpose of your blog, consider what you want it to be. There are any number of ways to use a blog, so ask yourself: Am I going to use my blog as a marketing tool, a communication tool, a journal, to obtain leads, as the company’s primary website, a landing page, or as a way of increasing company credibility? It doesn’t matter whether you want your blog to serve one or a combination of these functions, as long as you understand how you will use it to promote the growth of your small business.

Determine Your Target Audience

Before you start sharing posts and developing content, it is imperative to define your target audience. If you don’t, you’ll be unable to pick the optimal topics, content styles and marketing channels necessary to reach potential clients and/or consumers. Consider the people you want to address to establish the tone best suited to your audience’s preferences.

Examine Competitor Blogs

Your company’s originality is what sets you apart from other businesses in your industry, so examining your competitor’s blogs is a great way to make sure your strategy, along with any content you produce, is unique. Get a better understanding of the competition’s strategy by looking at:

  • User communication,
  • Content technique and styles,
  • Site layout and user experience,
  • Keywords targeted,
  • Subjects included.

SEMrush is a great tool to help you carry out a large-scale keyword analysis on your competitor’s search engine rankings. SEMrush gives users a solid understanding of which competitor pages rank high and what keywords they’re using to get more views. This tool can be a great aid in forming phrase modifications, so you can target the identical keywords in your content.

Develop a Content Plan and Make an Editorial Calendar

To begin establishing a general guideline for your content, make categories for the content types you plan to use. But first, you might want to do keyword research with tools like Google keyword planner, Wordtracker and Ubersuggest to get an understanding of what keywords best embody the content you want to produce. Once you determine these keywords, title your content categories with the keyword names, so when you make a blog post, your content will be more likely to appear in search engines. Make an editorial calendar to help you form a schedule detailing when you will post or how many posts you will make per week. Remember that relevant keywords change over time, so conduct keyword research on a regular basis to optimize your blog content and increase the chances of exposure.

Be Responsive

Because every business has a blog nowadays, it is imperative for you to be responsive if you hope to attract subscribers. Increase the likelihood of receiving relevant consumer views and comments by responding quickly and commenting on other blogs in your industry.

Use Social Media and Analytical Tools

Social media monitoring and analytical tools can help you understand what your customers are saying about your business and help you stay on top of the competition. For example, if a competitor announces a promotion, real-time marketing and social tools can notify you, giving you the opportunity to decide whether you want to offer a promotion as well. Monitoring tools can also help you manage consumer complaints made on social media platforms. So, if a consumer complains about your products or services, monitoring tools can inform you of the complaint and give you the chance to respond quickly.

Photo via Shutterstock

This article, "7 Tips to Start Building the Business Blog You Always Wanted" was first published on Small Business Trends

via Small Business Trends