Native Apps Vs. Progressive Web Apps
A common question we get asked regularly at Trak is “Is there an app for your platform?” The simple answer is yes! Trak is a comprehensive, progressive web application (PWA). Where it gets complicated however, is that often the person asking is only aware of one type of app - native apps - and unless they have intimate knowledge of software technology, may be a little confused as Trak doesn’t appear like the apps they are used to. Firstly, let’s dive into what native apps and PWA’s are, and how they differ from each other. A native app, the type of app most people are familiar with and would be referring to when using the term “app”, is an application designed for a single platform only. These apps are the ones you would find on the App Store for Apple or on the Google Play Store. They can only run on the software they are designed for (eg. iOS for Apple, Android for Google etc.). On the other hand, you have progressive web apps. PWA’s are essentially a combination of a website and a mobile app. They use all the features of a website, yet feel like an app when used. They are designed to run on every platform and the flexibility of these apps often makes them a preferred choice when creating an online platform.When creating Trade Trak, the team decided to create a PWA instead of a native app due to the many benefits they provide over their counterparts. Here are just some of the benefits of Trade Trak as a PWA:
- PWA’s can run on any platform - This means that Trak will always be able to be accessed, no matter what device you’re using. No more inconvenience of not being able to type up that quote in-field because you don’t have the right type of mobile phone.
- PWA’s can fit to any screen size - Whether you’re using an iPhone, iPad, Android phone, tablet or desktop, Trak will automatically fit to your screen so that it can work flawlessly on any device.
- No manual updates - Trak doesn’t require you to manually update the app to receive the latest upgrades and performance enhancements. Due to it being web based, our team pushes the updates automatically. These updates normally only take a few minutes to happen, and we normally plan them to run overnight or on weekends so there’s as little interference with app usage as possible.
- No need for approval for updates - When you have an app on Apple or the Google Play Store, any update needs to be reviewed and approved by the respective stores before it can go live. This process can take days. However, because Trak is PWA, if you report that you’re having issues, we can find the problem and push out a fix within minutes.
- Greater flexibility with spend - As Trak doesn’t have to pay for a place in native app stores, or fork out a certain percentage of profits made, more of our budget can go towards actually improving the app and adding useful features so that you get the best possible version of our job management system.
While there are numerous benefits of PWA’s, the one negative aspect of web apps that is often brought up is that they require an internet connection to run. While this is true, many job management services that use native apps instead still require an internet connection to be fully functional. Although they may offer limited usage while offline such as being able to view jobs, they still need a network connection to be updated.While we have plans to develop a native in-field app in the future, we believe that Trak sincerely benefits from being a progressive web app and can provide all the functionality of the standard apps you may be used to, and more. You can even add Trak to the home screen of your phone! Simply follow the steps in our handy guide here and you will be able to access our app quickly and easily. If you would like to learn more about our job management app, you can contact us here or feel free to directly email us at email@example.com.