Progressive Web Apps

Selected Best Progressive Web App Frameworks in 2020

With the current pace of adoption, newcomers like yourself should find it hard to find a solid base to build your PWA on. And we get it, of course, there just are too many different PWA frameworks out there, each with its own unique perks for you to choose from.

It’s for this reason that we find it necessary to provide you with a comprehensive, selected-best list with which you should find the whole framework-picking process a lot easier.

Let’s get right into it, shall we?

Best frameworks for your PWA development

1. Angular

AngularJS PWA Framework

After you get through its initial steep learning curve, Angular is a great framework to work on. It’s fully modular in its nature, with each Angular element fully compatible with projects built using other frameworks. The whole developing process with Angular is also made much easier, as it’s built to save you the hassle of dealing with monotonous, repetitive tasks. Progressive Web Apps that are built using Angular also greatly benefit from its unique compilation method, Ahead of Time (AOT), which enables faster application rendering by converting Angular HTML and TypeScript code into efficient JavaScript code before the browser downloads and runs the app.

Latest version: Angular 9 (Released on February 6, 2020)

Pros: 

  • Well-laid-out methodology 
  • Large and active community of developers
  • Complex infrastructure suitable for large scale projects
  • Great archive of third-party extensions to choose from
  • Optimized for speed and security, with unique and brilliant concept – ‘ahead of time compiler’
  • Dependency injection to increase code efficiency and modularity
  • Fully modular elements

Cons:

  • Requires understanding of TypeScript
  • Steep learning curve
  • Not SEO-friendly

Live PWA projects built using Angular: Corona Statistics, Google Cloud

2. React

The Angular community might be big, but it doesn’t hold a candle to the React community. In the Progressive Web App development sphere, React is well-recognized as a first-class citizen due to its ‘Create a new React app’ generator and all its initiatives to make PWA the new standard of the Web.

JavasScript Frameworks Ranking
Source: StateOfJS

And as for why React is so popular between PWA developers, it’s got much to do with how React can allow for more development flexibility due to its nature of being more of a library rather than a full-fledged framework like Angular; or in other words, compared to the Model-View-Controller model of Angular, the React library only has View and it can only bring HTML into JavaScript Works with the virtual DOM server-side rendering.

Latest version: React 16.13.1 (Released on March 19, 2020)

Pros:

  • Easy to learn: Syntaxes in React are simple and involve a lot of HTML writing skills.
  • Decent server-side rendering support, which is the key to creating of an interactive and engaging PWA
  • More flexibility in developing
  • Among the top in terms of performance as it uses virtual DOM and various rendering optimizations
  • Open-source library and popular — contributions are made everyday by the huge community of React developers from all around the world

Cons:

  • An understanding of JSX to make it easier to write and add HTML
  • Lack of documentation
  • Not SEO-friendly

Live PWA projects using React: Starbucks, Twitter Lite

Recommend Reading:

3. Vue

Vue PWA Framework

Like React, VueJS share many similarities at its core, with both of them use Virtual DOM for a light-weight and efficient representation of the actual DOM. Where they differ is the way Vue embraces and improves on the existing web technologies — HTML and CSS, whereas React goes for a more advanced route where it primarily uses JavaScript. It’s also due to this reason that frontend beginners might find it a more familiar time to learn and develop PWA in Vue, consequently making the learning curve of Vue more forgiving for newcomers.

Latest version: Vue v2.6.11 (released on December 14, 2019)

Pros: 

  • Most easy to learn 
  • Decent documentation
  • Can be combined with JSX and Typescript to produce the best results
  • Animations 
  • Enhanced rendendering performance due to Virtual-DOM

Cons:

  • Too flexible: There are too many reported and unresolved integration issues in big projects
  • Small development team

Live PWA projects built using Vue: Zadig & Voltaire, Tally Weiji

Recommended reading: Magento PWA Studio vs Vue Storefront: Which one is for you? 

4. Preact

Preact PWA Framework

Available as a lightweight, performance-oriented alternative to React, Preact is a framework ideal for PWA development as it’s light, fast, and should fill most of your needs. And the reason that it’s so great and so well-recommended inside the PWA community is that it’s fully compatible with React, and a transition from React to Preact is as simple as implementing a compatibility layer preact-compat to your existing code. 

Latest version: 10.4.4 (Released on May 19, 2020)

Pros: 

  • Light and fast
  • Uses the same ES6 API as React, allowing for seamless compatibility
  • It-just-works Preact CLI which offers superb PWA performance out of the box
  • Comes with its own server-side rendering, routing, and add-ons

Cons:

  • A lot of ‘innovations’ in Preact are 
  • Need preact-compat to use React components or packages

Live PWA projects using Preact: Their official website is a Preact PWA, Code and Comment

5. PWABuilder

PWABuilder PWA Framework

Founded by Microsoft themselves to push adoptions of PWA forward, PWABuilder is built to be the best at what it does—that is converting websites into fast, functional, and engaging PWAs across multiple platforms. The recently released PWA Builder 2.0 also extends its official support to the Mac desktop platform driven by WebKit. The framework aims to create cross-platform PWAs, including availability in places that shouldn’t be possible such as Microsoft Store and Mac. Yes, macOS, as the recently released 2.0 version of PWA Builder has extended its official support to WebKit-powered browsers.

Latest version: 2.0

Pros:

  • Intuitive and comprehensive building/converting process
  • Extensive documentation
  • Backed by dedicated Microsoft team
  • Use Vuejs for its web development and 
  • Built using Vue.js and Node.js 

Cons:

  • Restricted flexibility
  • Automated process which can make managing things a little bit harder

Conclusion

And that’s it for our list. Choosing a framework is the most crucial step which will determine the speed and responsiveness of your PWA later on. It’s better to spend some time to dig through your various options now since you don’t want to regret choosing the wrong framework for your PWA development, as that will result in major and unnecessary cost as well as resources.

In case your site is a Magento store, here at SimiCart we specialize in PWA implementation using Magento PWA Studio, using which the end result for your store is guaranteed to be fast, effortless, and engaging.

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