State of the Art: AMP and PWA

State of the Art: AMP and PWA

Focus on the mobile web

The trends in the IT sector are coming at a high pace. Companies are in constant competition for the pole position. This can be seen as a risk. Or as an opportunity.

Current market dynamics and a shift in user habits lead to a very high focus on mobile use and user friendliness of websites. This has resulted in two particular trends that have gained a lot of traction in recent years: Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) and Progressive Web Apps (PWA).

Simplicity for speed

AMP is an open source project led by Google. This new website standard is a very lightweight version of HTML, because JavaScript and CSS functionalities are very limited. The focus on mobile use thus ensures one thing above all else: An incredibly fast loading time!

How is this realized? For example by asynchronous loading. The website is reduced to the most necessary page elements; elaborate scripts are omitted. AMP pages can be stored in a special cache for AMPs in the Google search.

There are two possibilities for implementation: An AMP can be used parallel to the regular page, but the AMP can also be used as the only solution if the content of the page is mainly static.

But the use of AMP is controversial. Caching leads to a high dependency on Google and the traffic runs through Google instead of your own site. This has an impact on data security. AMP's target groups are publishers, consumer platforms and developers. So far, most media companies have relied on AMP technology.

However, for dynamic content, a PWA is more suitable.

Inspired by mobile apps

A Progressive Web App is a website that looks like a native app in mobile browsers. It also has some functionality that makes native apps popular, such as push notifications or creating a shortcut on the home screen. But although they can be used like native apps, they are easier to run. The PWA doesn't need to be verified in App Stores, nor do updates.

It is the next evolutionary step of the Responsive Web App and a hybrid between a traditional website and a mobile application. Content is cached by service workers in the smartphone's cache, so the app can be used regardless of the state of the network.

Speaking of cache - this also ensures short loading times for the PWA. Here, too, data is loaded asynchronously. Speed is the key!

Operating a PWA is not a project that binds a company, but an open process model that can be taken up by anyone. PWAs are also convincing in terms of security. They inevitably require HTTPS as the transmission standard.

Conclusion

Both AMPs and PWAs focus on the same two aspects: the fast loading of websites and the focus on mobile devices. But apart from that, there are few similarities. The short loading times are achieved by very different means. Particularly for the first use, an AMP has an advantage.

Using an AMP makes you very dependent on Google, whereas a PWA only leads to dependencies to the extent that you allow it to. From a security and privacy perspective, a PWA is preferable.

The architecture of an AMP is most suitable for news pages and pages with static content. For dynamic pages, a PWA performs much better.

Of course, both approaches can also be combined. An AMP can be supplemented by service workers with a PWA. AMPs and PWAs can be linked to each other or AMPs can be used for visualization in a PWA. Each option offers different advantages, but all have one thing in common: The combination of the advantages from both worlds.

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