Difference between AMP pages and Progressive web apps

What is the difference between AMP pages and Progressive web apps?

Progressive web apps

Progressive Web Apps (PWA) is a recent development hurled out by Google. These web apps feature the latest web technologies such as App Shell model to offer modern browsing features which makes them look like a normal mobile application. PWA deploys an array of design concepts, newest features that modern browsers support, and technologies and Web APIs that work together to provide the best of websites and mobile apps. In other words, they are an advanced version of responsive web apps that include all the supplementary features of a good app.

Important Features of PWA

  • Compatible: These web apps are highly compatible with all devices, including mobile devices, tablets, and desktops.
  • Progressive: As the name suggests, these apps are progressive, i.e. they work well in every browser.
  • Connectivity: It enables the users to work offline or on poor networks.
  • Up-to-date: The Service Worker update process ensures seamless offline functionality, content caching, push notifications, background content updating and much more.
  • Content Loading: PWA offers faster load time and smooth animations and navigations.
  • Secure: These web apps always come with an HTTPS certificate that encodes your data between browser and web server to ensure safe content.
  • Shareable: You can easily share these with URLs. It doesn't require installations.
  • Bookmark: Users can easily pin their favorite web apps directly to their home screens without getting into the hassle of downloading them via app stores. With fewer clicks and augmented convenience for the users, these apps enhance nice conversion rate.

The Pros and Cons of PWA

The Pros

  • No app installation or updates needed
  • No need to develop a separate code base
  • Faster load times, irrespective of the network quality
  • Allows to scroll 60 frames in one second
  • Linkable, indexable, shareable
  • Completely secure
  • Relatively cheaper than native apps
  • Augmented reach and engagement with a fairly less development effort
  • Unified customer experience

The Cons

It comes with certain platform limitations that cause re-engagement problems.

AMP Pages

AMP is an open source platform built on JavaScript and approved by Google, which reduces page loading time as compared to regular HTML. It is used for building web pages for static content, making it easy for the developers to create mobile-friendly content which loads quickly on mobile devices. The primary aim of AMP is to offer a seamless and quick browsing experience on mobile devices. Consequently, contains 10 times fewer data and several fancy features than a usual website or app. This helps to get the needed information in front of the users in the fastest possible time.

Important Features of AMP

  • Reduce page load times to improve the user experience
  • Improves SEO and keyword rankings in mobile devices
  • Website producers have complete control over the business and visual design

The Pros and Cons of AMP

The Pros

  • Boosts speed and brings downloading times
  • Supports ad facility
  • Reduces server load to enrich performance
  • Suitable for publisher-based websites

The Cons

  • It works only on the basis of the cache
  • It is not possible to track user activity on AMP pages
  • Not suitable for e-commerce websites
  • It does not improve search engine ranking

Progressive Web Apps vs. AMP

There are a few key differences between the two which are listed as under:

  1. Both technologies work simultaneously and help to reduce the waiting period and page loading times.
  2. While AMP helps to bring down page loading times, PWA pages update automatically in the shortest possible time span to proffer an enriching mobile app-like-website surfing experience to the users.
  3. AMP furnishes content quickly whereas PWA extends user engagement through a bunch of features such as add to the home button, push notifications, etc.
  4. AMP is predominantly suitable for static content websites such as blog sites, new publishing sites, etc. On the other hand, PWA is best suited for e-commerce websites, as it gives the look of a mobile app. They are highly recommended for 'https' websites which are protected connections between users and website.
  5. Unlike AMP, progressive web apps are not restricted to using CSS or JavaScript. Thus, they can offer far more engaging content as compared to AMP. With AMP, dynamic content is not possible.

So, do you necessarily have to choose one over the other?
The answer is 'No.' In fact, progressive web apps and AMP work great together. In many cases, they supplement each other and their collective use is becoming majorly prevalent among developers. By blending the two technologies together, you can reduce high page load time and long waiting durations. On a mobile site, even duration of three seconds seems to be long. According to a study, 53% of users refuse to wait on a website beyond three seconds and jump to the next URL or search.

Thus, to decrease this bounce rate, the two technologies can come to play.

Three ways of using AMP and PWA together:

1. AMP as a progressive web app

If your content is majorly static, then opting for this option is a great choice. It allows you to leverage AMP's lightning fast speed to proffer rich experiences as a PWA. For instance, what you build will be a PWA entirely AMP-charged. Per say it will have a service worker that will offer offline access and a manifest that will display the 'Add to home screen' banner.

2. AMP to a progressive web app

The most credible feature of AMP is the almost-instant delivery, which makes it an ideal fit for the user's first interaction with the site. Progressive web apps, on the other hand, offer more engagement through its wide array of features. However, its first load is stalled by the fact that site's Service Worker is only quickening delivery on subsequent loads. Therefore, it is an ideal strategy to make an AMP page as the entry point into the site, and following that, warm the PWA behind the scenes and reel the users into a progressive web application.

3. AMP in a progressive web app

One of the best features of AMP is that they can be easily and safely embedded within a specific area of a web page. This is helpful in decreasing the complexity of the backend and lowering its load time, without compromising on including dynamic functionality. To do this, you need to use another form of AMP, known as Shadow AMP, which allows the AMP to nest within a specific area of the web page.

Final Words

Both the technologies come with their own set of benefits. While AMP offers quick access to the content, PWA improves user experience and keeps them engaged. If you are an 'https' website owner, you essentially need a seamless blend of both technologies to serve your visitors better.