Geofencing, web push and progressive apps are taking webapps to a new place

There’s a lot going on these days in the world of webapps. Most recently, the W3C published the Geofencing API first public working draft. This API allows webapps to register for notifications when the user’s device enters defined geographical regions, assuming that the user grants permission. This enables a whole new class of webapps to be built and follows the recent rollout of the web push API to Chrome Mobile on Android. Both of these features build on service workers and collectively will take webapps to a new place, since the browser doesn’t need to be running/foregrounded for these features to be utilised.

Separately, Chrome now supports a gentle frictionless path that takes the user from merely loading a website to a full screen native app-like experience, all based on open web technologies in an approach called “progressive apps”. The Google I/O 2015 site and Flipboard are good examples of this.

Progressive apps help reduce user drop-off along their engagement path

The web has had a number of crises of confidence recently from well-founded fears about weight and speed to existential qualms related to the role of the web in a world of native apps. This angst notwithstanding, these are a really exciting set of developments that truly have the power to take the web to a new place—hopefully not limited to Chrome.

If this kind of thing is interesting to you I recommend reading Paul Kinlan’s Building better with the mobile web and Progressive Apps: Escaping Tabs Without Losing our Soul from Alex Russell.

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