Magento PWA Studio (Magento 2 PWA Studio) has seemed to be the hottest trend for e-commerce stores to approach potential customers with shopping habits on mobile devices. The blog will guide readers on how to start with this trendy technology.
Let’s get the ball rolling with some statistics.
- 64% of ecommerce traffic came from mobile phones in the first quarter of 2019 (Salesforce Shopping Index, 2019)
- It’s predicted that 228% will be the number of the increase in spending per user on mobile e-commerce in 2012.
There’s no doubt that mobile commerce has become an inevitable result of mobile devices development. For that reason, the sellers who keep up with that trend and optimize the mobile experience on their website will have more advantages to win. In that way, many store owners have chosen PWA for the best solution.
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Magento PWA Studio Introduction
1. What is PWA?
PWA stands for Progressive Web App, is a web application using modern web technologies and design models to bring a reliable, fast, and engaging user experience.
A website with PWA technology features very fast, secure, responsive, and compatible across browsers. It can run offline and perform like a native app on mobile. Visit here for technical Magento PWA Documentation.
However, not every web app is a progressive web app. A web app can only be considered as PWA when it fits certain standards or indicates the above features: works offline, is installable, easy-to-synchronize, supports push notifications, etc.
How to know whether a web app meets those requirements? It’s not difficult to find measuring tools such as Lighthouse (the most commonly used one). A progressive web app should get a high Lighthouse score.
Specifically, a web app identified as a progressive web app should perform these key principles:
- Discoverable: It means that its content can be found from search engines.
- Installable: Users can see it available on the home screen of devices.
- Linkable: Users can share it with a URL.
- Independent from the internet: Users can use it without an internet connection.
- Progressive: Users encounter no problem when using it with old browsers or the latest one.
- Re-engageable: It can send notifications of new content or events.
- Responsive: It can work smoothly in any device.
- Secure: User information and other data are secured against third parties.
2. Technical Components of PWA
The Web App manifest
This is the first component is a JSON file which gives a progressive web app a like-app interface. It allows developers to control how the app is displayed to users and how it can be launched. With the file, developers can choose a centralized place for the web app’s metadata.
The manifest typically includes beginning URL, the complete and short name of an app, links to the icon and size, type, and position of icons.
The application shell architecture
The use of the application shell architecture plays an important role in developing static or dynamic content. It contains core design elements to ensure the app can run without the internet.
Transport Layer Security (TLS)
TLS is the standard for the secure and robust exchange of data between two applications. Data integrity requires serving the website via HTTPS and installing on a server an SSL certificate.
3. Magento PWA Studio
The Magento PWA Studio (Magento 2 PWA Studio) comes with a set of developer tools to support the development, deployment, and maintenance of a PWA storefront on top of Magento 2.3 and above. It uses modern tools and libraries to create a system and framework that adheres to the Magento principle of extensibility.
Magento PWA Studio saves store owners a lot of effort to launch native apps that suit all the different operating systems. As a result, you can maximize the size of prospective consumers.
Search “Magento PWA Studio demo” for an example.
4. Popular Magento 2 PWA Studio Demos
Magento 2 PWA Studio Venia Demo
Magento 2 PWA Studio Venia demo is a set of tools to facilitate the process of PWA storefront development and maintenance for Magento 2 websites. The Venia demo is offered by Magento.
- Optimized for mobile devices
- Simple and basic category page
- Support fundamental product information like Name, Price, Image, SKU, etc.
- Miss some Magento default features
- Available functions are not enough to optimize the user experience
Magento 2 PWA Studio Demo by Tigren
Magento 2 PWA Studio Demo by Tigren is based on Magento 2 PWA Studio, React JS, and Graph QL. This demo version includes various features that will definitely bring users with a perfect app-like experience and outweigh the Venia demo.
- Fast speed with lightning interactions
- App-like interface: icon on the mobile home screen, push notification, full-screen mode, splash page with the store logo
- Background sync
- Available cross OSs
- Take low storage space
- Support SEO features
- Easy to update
Magento 2 PWA Studio Demo by Inchoo
You also can find another Magento 2 PWA Studio Demo developed by Inchoo, which performs richer features than the demo of Venia. This demo is based on Magento 2 PWA Studio, Buildpack, and Peregrine.
- Compatible with mobile and desktop
- Contain all key workflows and complete checkout
- Perform lighthouse scores of 100 on 4/5 audits on regular networks and 93-100 on all audits on slow 3G networks
- Support the “standard” PWA stuff like works offline, add to the home screen, and so on
Especially, on the latest update of the demo in May 2019, you can also find in action:
- Off-line add to cart
- Layered navigation
- Yotpo review
- Coupon codes
- Shipping estimates
- Group and bundle products support
5. PWA or Native App?
PWA can work like a native app with an icon, splash page (after opening the app), full-screen display, push notification, and so on. However, a PWA still outweighs a native app in some points.
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- First, a native app can only work on a certain operating system like iOS or Android. Otherwise, PWA operates on mobile browsers and supported on both iOS and Android.
- A native app requires users to download it from an app store. With a PWA, they can easily install after adding it to the home screen.
- To update a native app, users must go to app stores. However, they still can experience the latest version of a PWA without doing that.
- A PWA is more flexible and easier to share and promote compared to a native app.
- Unlike many online apps that require an Internet connection to run, users can access PWA even when they are offline.
- In comparison with PWA, native apps cost you much more to develop and maintain. For example, launching two versions of a native app (one for iOS and one for Android) can result in doubled costs and other resources.
Those reasons are enough to predict that Magento PWA will be popularly used in the future for user-friendly apps.
How to integrate PWA in Magento 2?
1. Using PWA Studio
The first way to integrate PWA in Magento 2 is by using PWA Studio. Magento launched Magento 2.3 PWA Studio to help merchants to develop, install and manage Magento 2 websites with a PWA storefront.
This method requires you to have experienced developers in both Magento and PWA from the beginning (Magento PWA Studio Tutorial). The development of your PWA storefront and new API using Magento 2 PWA Studio tools will take up to 6 months. Hence, store owners should prepare a considerable budget for that integration.
- Pros: Using PWA Studio is a thorough solution that replaces your current storefront to a PWA version that connects your backend through API.
- Cons: PWA is not everything and not enough for an optimized user experience. It just supports you in PWA development. You can find out a Magento PWA Studio demo that misses some Magento default features like Venia, for example.
Here, you can find the Magento PWA Studio Tutorial.
2. Using Magento PWA Extension
Unlike Magento PWA Studio, this is the easiest and fastest way that directly brings store owners a PWA storefront. You can immediately search for options of PWA Extension in Magento Marketplace and Magento extension providers.
As usual, you must pay for the extension and installation fee, which are different from each provider. Besides, you can also find places serving it free. So, you should carefully consider their features to choose the most suitable one.
- Pros: It just takes you hours to install a PWA Extension at an affordable cost on your website then say hello to the new integrated PWA version. The method both saves time and money for websites with a tight budget.
- Cons: In fact, most of Magento PWA extensions in the market are not sufficient for Progressive Web App’s features like fast loading speed, offline mode, and background sync. Therefore, it’s always recommended to test the demo carefully.
3. Using Magento 2 PWA Theme
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Another way to convert your website to PWA is by using Magento 2 PWA theme. A PWA theme can be created by Magento 2.3 PWA Studio, ReactJS, and GraphQL. It contains two components: an extensive PWA storefront and built-in API to relate this storefront to Magento backend.
The cost of using the Magento 2 PWA theme will primarily depend on your level of customization. In general, this method costs you less than using PWA Studio but more than an extension does.
- Pros: The solution can cover all you expect from a PWA, such as fast loading speed across devices, shortcuts on the home screen, splash page, fullscreen display, background sync, etc. Furthermore, Magento 2 PWA theme brings a better vision than the default Venia storefront with a comprehensive design of all pages of a website.
- Cons: The PWA storefront still needs to be customized to suit your design. Besides, if your site has some custom functions or integrates extra extensions, you will have to test their compatibility with the new storefront and update the API as well.
BSS Commerce is planning to apply PWA technology and Magento 2 PWA theme to serve our customers better in 2020. If you’re interested, please keep updated through our website and our blog for the latest news. Besides, you can immediately have an overlook for Magento e-commerce solutions from the administration, SEO, order management, sales motivation to product improvement.
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