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Progressive Web Apps: Interview with the Vue Storefront Founders

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Guides & Advice
Progressive Web Apps: Interview with the Vue Storefront Founders

PWA (Progressive web app) is the game-changing technology that will be pivotal for 2020. PWA combines the best of both mobile apps and websites, providing the experience and feel of a native app while functioning as a normal web app on browsers. 

Online businesses choose PWAs for multiple benefits such as improved performance, engaging user experience, seamless work offline, easy development, and reduced development cost.

According to Gartner Research, PWA will replace 50% of mobile apps. PWA has already been adopted by such ecommerce leaders as Alibaba, Flipkart, and Aliexpress. If you’re not adopting PWAs,  your competitors will do it, mark our words.

So is PWA the real deal or is it just another trend that will be forgotten? To find out, we had a chat with CEO & Co-Founder at Vue Storefront, Patrick Friday, and CTO & Co-Founder at Vue Storefront, Filip Rakowski.

Q: Why is PWA so great?

Patrick Friday, CEO & Co-Founder, Vue Storefront : 

PWA combines the best of the web with the best of native apps while dramatically reducing the cost of development. Back in the day, true mobile experiences were only possible by making complex iOS and Android apps alongside the web eCommerce. 

This means three platforms to maintain, usually by three different teams! By taking Android and iOS native apps out of this setup, the company saves around 60% of the cost. This can then be used on marketing and even further improvements of the web experience.

To explore the key difference between a PWA vs native app vs responsive website read more here:

Guides & Advice

What is a Progressive Web App and Why Does It Matter for Ecommerce?

Q: Why did you choose to create a PWA platform specifically for ecommerce?

Patrick Friday, CEO & Co-Founder, Vue Storefront : 

At the start, most PWAs were built for web apps like Pinterest, Spotify, 9gag, and Tinder; we then saw some builds for eCommerce such as Flipkart, Aliexpress, Alibaba, and OLX. All of them have one thing in common; they are custom builds and therefore require a lot of time and money, which is why only the giants mentioned above could afford them. 

As we focused on eCommerce only, we were able to have a set of features that are repeated for any online store, while having a very up-to-date headless architecture which allows for easy customizations and integrations with other third-party services. By doing so, we are able to cut down the development process dramatically. 

Q: What makes a VSF a unique solution?

Filip Rakowski, CTO & Co-Founder, Vue Storefront: 

“Vue Storefront is an all-in-one and fully customizable solution when it comes both to design and features. It is a framework that suggests several directions of development, not a platform that arbitrarily imposes specific solutions.”

Moreover, it is based on Vue.js, which is considered a JS framework that is much easier to learn than React or Angular, and so the time-to-market of services is significantly reduced. VSF is also an open-source project with a vibrant and helpful community gathered around it; it has over 6000 stars on GitHub and with 70 live projects.

Q: How is Vue Storefront different from other PWA platforms?

Patrick Friday, CEO & Co-Founder, Vue Storefront:

Vue Storefront is eCommerce platform-agnostic, which means that can be integrated with any platform out there. We started out with Magento, we are about to have an amazing integration with Shopware, and next come commerce tools, About You Cloud, Salesforce, Spryker, Spree Commerce, and more. 

This means that if an agency is working on implementations with many different eCommerce platforms, they can use one frontend on all of them, which reduces technology spread and allows them to focus their efforts. What is more, all of the other platforms are based on React.js but we decided to go with Vue.js. Trends are showing that this was the right decision for many various reasons (but to cover them all we’d need a whole new blog post). 

Q: Speaking of building PWA, is there a difference in performance between React, Vue, and Angular?

Filip Rakowski, CTO & Co-Founder, Vue Storefront:

There are some differences but they are relatively small and they might have an impact on performance only on large scale projects.  

Q: How long does it take to build a PWA and integrate it with an ecommerce platform?:

Patrick Friday, CEO & Co-Founder, Vue Storefront: 

Time to market varies a lot based on project complexity, scope, and the UX/UI to be implemented. If the webshop is very simple, following our standard templates without any complex integrations, we saw implementations being done with up to eight weeks on top of Magento 1 / Magento 2 as an eCommerce platform. For more complex builds, it usually takes between four and six months.

Q: How do you feel about combining PWA and AMP?

Filip Rakowski, CTO & Co-Founder, Vue Storefront:

In general, combining PWA and AMP makes sense only when we are using AMP for specific pages because it strongly limits interactivity. AMP works well with static pages like blog pages or homepages. Category or product pages are much more dynamic and require a different approach. 

Q: What’s the future of PWA and what features will ecommerce PWAs have?

Patrick Friday, CEO & Co-Founder, Vue Storefront: 

The future of PWA is very bright, as this will help to meet the high expectations of users browsing the web. I would compare this to Responsive Sites that were implemented some time ago. 

In the beginning, not everyone believed in technology but it is now a standard. Imagine a site that is not responsive on mobile; can you even think of any examples? I think PWA will become the same standard and all websites will become PWA; some more advanced, some less, but still all PWA.

Ecommerce PWA will have everything that the Web will allow for. We have to remember that PWA is a Web technology, so once we have access to the camera, as an example, AR features for PWA are possible. 

What Web Can Do today is a great tool to see explore the possibilities for both laptops and mobile. Personally, I think that Voice Commerce will see huge growth in the coming years and the Vue Storefront team is already working on it together with Upsidelab.

Building a PWA is a future-proof solution. This technology is rapidly becoming a dominant power in the world of app development. If you want to get more conversions and more satisfied customers, your next investment should be developing a PWA for your store.

We’re ecstatic about how far PWAs have gotten —  giants like Microsoft, Twitter, Forbes, NASA, Wikipedia, and a host of other companies are already using them.  If you’re looking into PWA development for your ecommerce store, we can help you build it. Let us know if you have any questions about PWA.

Check out our article to find out the results achieved by ecommerce companies that have already adopted PWA:

Guides & Advice

Best Examples of Progressive Web Apps (PWA) in Retail and Ecommerce in 2019

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