If we go back twenty years to get something done on a computer you needed to install a program locally on your computer. This is still true for many Microsoft and Apple users, but not so much with Chrome OS users. This is because Chrome OS was created to work with the internet, therefore, the way you get tasks done is a totally different process.
Before the launch of Android and Linux Apps to get tasks done on your Chromebook would mean searching for an online option. Even back when the Chromebook was first launched in 2011 there were plenty of options. These options such as Google Docs, which includes a word processor, spreadsheet and slides app are still available today.
Although it was not all plain sailing at the beginning. Things have improved considerably since then, and you can find so many websites to help you with your daily tasks. On top of that Chrome OS saw the launch of Android and Linux Apps, which again offered so many new opportunities. Now we have Progressive Web Apps (PWAs). They are without question the future, so what are they, and why will they benefit Chrome OS users?
What are Progressive Web Apps (PWAs)
A Progressive Web App is essentially a program that runs inside your browser. They work very similarly to how a normal website works. Whether you want to listen to your favourite YouTube tracks or video edit with Clipchamp, you’ll find a PWA app for this.
You can use a PWA by simply visiting the web address where the app is located. Because they work inside the browser you’ll not necessarily even realise you’re using a PWA. You do have the option to install PWAs locally. This can offer extra functionality, and it also means you can easily find the PWA in your Chrome OS launcher menu for future use.
The good thing about PWAs is that they work in most browsers. Also, it doesn’t matter whether you’re using them on your Chromebook or Android phone. They work the same and offer the same functionality. Because they are progressive, they adapt to the size of your display, which is why they are easy to use no matter what device you’re using.
Are they better than Android Apps
It isn’t necessarily the case that PWAs are better, but they do have the potential to offer better functionality. Also, PWAs are perfect for Chrome OS because they can be used inside a browser. This means you don’t need to install them locally, although you can do if you wish.
Android apps were originally made for Android. This means most of them, although this has changed in the last couple of years, are made for phones and tablets. You may have noticed this if you’ve tried using an Android app on your Chromebook, and the visuals looked strange or it simply didn’t work as intended.
To use Android Apps you have to use a computer or smart device that is compatible with them. If you use an Android phone or Chromebook then this isn’t an issue. However, it does mean Android apps are limited to users of Android and Chrome OS. This isn’t ideal when we look at where computing will be in the future.
PWAs work with all computers
One of the huge benefits of Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) is that they work on all computers. It doesn’t matter whether you’re using a Chromebook, Microsoft Windows PC or Apple Mac. As long as you have access to an internet browser you’ll be able to use a PWA.
This means you can use your favourite PWA at home and work on any device without any compatibility issues. The benefit of this is you can invest a lot of time learning how to use a PWA without having to worry about it not being available on all computer types.
That’s the benefit for the user, but the biggest advantage of PWAs is for software developers. Instead of developers such as Adobe having to create a separate app for Android, Microsoft, Mac and Linux. They can concentrate all their efforts into one PWA. This is why PWAs are the future of computing and is ultimately the reason why they are here to stay.
One App created for all
When software developers have to create apps for different platforms. They have to make the decision on what platforms to work with, which means other platforms can miss out. Software developers such as Adobe spend an absolute fortune on developing software. Therefore, they have to make sure they create apps to work on computers, which most of their users use.
This means there is always a situation where Apple Macs are good for certain tasks, whilst Microsoft is better for others and Chrome OS is in the middle of all this. Although Chrome OS is more popular than ever. Well established software developers are always going to put more money and effort into creating software for operating systems they know their users use.
The future of computing as far as I’m concerned is where we slowly see the removal of compatibility issues. We’ll always have a situation where Microsoft, Apple and Chrome OS try to offer their users something different. However, with the introduction of PWAs and more people using the internet. These differences they’ll be able to offer users will become a lot less substantial. Therefore, it will be more a matter of preference when choosing a new computer over capability.
PWAs are here to stay, and they will make using a computer in the future so much easier. You’ll no longer have to worry about compatibility issues with your favourite software. The fact you can use a PWA on any type of computer is a great benefit for both the user and software developer.
The fact that software developers will only need to concentrate on one app. Means we’ll start to see so much more from PWAs in the future. It stands to sense that a software developer will go all-in when it comes to PWAs. Not having to worry about the cost and resources needed to develop apps for different platforms. Will allow them to put all their effort and time into creating some seriously fantastic PWAs.