Create a Progressive Web App (PWA) using React Native | Zealous System

The progressive web application is intended to work on any platform that uses a standards-compliant browser being a type of application software delivered through the web, built using common web technologies including HTML, CSS and JavaScript. “Mobile Applications vs. Websites- which is the better option?” This debate has been the talk of the town for quite long now and till now it seemed that Mobile Applications were winning.

With advantages like Push Notifications, native experience and offline access along with the increasing use of Smartphone by the cosmopolitans made Mobile Applications a better alternative for many enterprises. But, for blogs and informative platforms, websites were still favored and for those who already had an established Web platform worried about the paradigm shift due to integration issues and the higher costs of the Mobile Applications.

But we have always witnessed that technical drawbacks are basically opportunities hidden in disguise. Whenever there are two extremes with each having their own pros, there is always a middle ground, a market gap where one can cater the best of both worlds. Such an opportunity to cater to the best of both the mobile applications and websites is called Progressive Web Application aka PWA.

Progressive Web Apps | the best of both worlds (PWA Introduction)

By using the latest PWA Technology, one can convert their websites into web applications that serve the benefits of mobile applications such as better storage, highly responsive platform, native experience and progressive enhancement. To put it in plain English, you can make users download your website on their phones and allow them to access it like an application. You can also push notifications like those that are sent from native mobile applications.

To make this easier for developers to understand, PWA Technology basically merges the components of a website and an application and integrates HTTPs, Manifest file, App Shell Structure and the server files to build a progressive web application. Even the giants like Twitter and Forbes have converted their websites into PWAs and witnessed a surge in their visits, engagement while the bounce rates dropped significantly.

Although the PWA Technology is still in its infancy and there are many software technologies and browsers that still don’t support PWA technology, it is possible to convert your website into a Progressive Web App using React Native. And to help you understand what changes your websites undergo and how it’s done, we have put it as simply as possible as to how one can create PWA using React Native:

How to Create PWA using React Native:

Download and Install PWA Tool: React has a tool that we need to download first. The tool is called “Create-react-app” tool which is developed to build a React Progressive Web Application. Once the download and installation process is complete, the tool can be used to create a new app using react.

Give Command to open packages and finalize the UI components: In order to create the Progressive Web Application, following command must be given in the app to open all the packages that are available to create a new application: “create-react-app Application Name’

The same command will also create a new folder in your servers which will further be used to run a react native application and to store the Service worker file. The same command will also develop a manifest file that will be stored in the public folder. Once that is done, you can find the manifest.json file which enables developers to make all the desired changes to the UI of the PWA of your website.

Verification of the Service Worker Code: Once the UI changes are done, you will have to verify the service worker code to generate a service worker for the app. This verification will give affirmation of making progressive web apps using react and the app will go for production. Once the production is commenced, the NPM run build will combine all the react packages to develop the PWA of your website.

Application Testing: Once the development is completed, developers will setup a static server to run the application in various mobile devices. To access the application, developers will use the lighthouse tool to check whether the development was errorless and they can also confirm whether the website has turned into a PWA or not.

Application Changes: Once all the bugs and errors are identified, firstly developers will save the current version in case the changes are not as desired and then, the developers will make the changes with real-time preview in React. Along with that, an app shell will also be created to finalize the user interface of the application. Lastly, all the react components will be implemented using the ES6 Import along with Axios integration.

Application Deployment:

Once all the changes are done, the application live URL will be created in the static server itself and then deployed on the Host server. Once deployed, the developers can make final confirmation of the PWA status of the website using the lighthouse tool. So, if you take a look at the whole process, one can see that the complete Development Cycle is followed to convert a website into a Progressive Web Application.

Once deployed, the client can urge users to click on the live URL and install the PWA on their mobile devices. Currently, most of the PWA function only in Android devices and thus, iOS users will be redirected to the link page automatically. Since this is a new concept, an enterprise must collaborate with Progressive Web Application Service provider that has the React Native expertise and also some past experience in creating PWA.

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Originally published at on March 30, 2020.

Zealous System is the emerging software development company providing custom web, mobile application and game development services. |