Paper: Will PWAs make native apps obsolete?

The paper concludes that PWAs probably will not replace native apps but will be used significantly more often because they can keep development costs low and bring real value for users and businesses.

View paper

The reasoning for the paper and topic

Graduating from high school in Germany requires the students to take five big exams. The fifth could either be absolved as a presentation or as a paper. I chose to write a paper because it is easier to publish. This aspect was important to me, as I knew I’ll work on a topic related computer science. Having done one more project with the result visible for others could be handy for the future. I wrote it in English to keep it as international as possible.

I began to decide on a topic approximately one year before the paper was due. Web technology had me interested at the time (and still interests me) and I heard about Progressive Web Apps. Writing about them would be an effective opportunity to learn what they exactly are, what their pros/cons are and how to implement them. This topic was the first thing that came to my mind when I began to think about the paper. Nevertheless, I spent lots of time thinking about other possible topics, reading on the internet, exploring libraries and talking to people. No matter which idea there was, I always thought my first idea was better and simply interested me more.

About the paper

The paper is structured in the following way: After the introduction, native apps and PWAs are defined. Their features are analyzed and it is explained why native apps were used instead of websites in the past and how websites can keep up. I also tried to look into the future by trying to understand the decisions of different companies and discussing different scenarios that could occur. Everything is summarized in the conclusion.

It was pointed out by my teacher that the paper is mostly written from the perspective of developers/businesses and I could have written more about the privacy advantage of PWAs that results from the fact that PWAs are websites and their source code is accessible. Thus it is possible, contrary to native apps, to comprehend what a PWA does, saves and sends to a server.

Final reflection

Writing the paper was worth it not only for the sake of graduation but because of the experience and the learning. I’m now able to implement PWAs and decide whether to use them.