Progressing Progressively with PWA at Google’s London Academy

10 Oct 2017

Posted by Jarryd Trokis

When BIMA offered its members the chance to apply for a place on the two-day free Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) training course at Google’s London Academy, we jumped at the chance and were lucky enough to secure two places.

Soon afterwards I found myself at the academy, on the front row; hungry from the two-hour journey, sweaty from the 10-minute walk but eager as a beaver to learn about how to build the future.

The future, they say, is bright and as a front-end developer, it’s certainly more exciting than ever. With the rapid advancement of JavaScript and browser technologies, the field has never been more akin to a sweet shop – if the sweet shop was full of sweets in brown wrappers, with labels written in a foreign language and everybody seemingly scrambling to be the first to tell you that you should be buying their sweet. (You’ll be glad to know that this is where the food references end).

Google is no different from any other company, in the way that they are pushing the technology that they have pioneered. However, PWAs are not ‘just another framework’ or some fly-by-night technology. Instead, Progressive Web Apps are a methodology – a way of thinking, if you will – that should be adopted right across the board. A grandiose statement indeed, but let me explain.

As developers, we like to imagine that everybody uses the same browser that we do; that everyone is running the latest and greatest OS, on internet speeds that rival The Autobahn, connected to networks more reliable than the Japanese train service, but that’s simply not the reality. More and more, we’ve come to see that users still use the browser that shall not be named and simply don’t always have access to the kind of networks that we do. It’s with all this as a backdrop that we cue the entrance of PWAs (Ta-da!)

PWAs aim to address many of these issues by implementing some exciting technology in the shape of service workers – which, put simply, are just browser proxies that use the latest browser APIs to perform certain functions, making websites more reliable, faster and ultimately, more like native applications. Push notifications, offline use and client-side data storage are all features that PWAs bring to the browser.

Of course, there was so much more covered during the course, that is well beyond the scope of a blog post. Topics included: responsive web design, service workers, cache API, using fetch API and Index DB. Should you ever have the opportunity, I would highly recommend attending. The skills you’ll pick up over the two days will invariably aid you in your quest for front-end (and all-round web dev) domination.

If at this point, you’re still reading…you should know that I haven’t got a clue how to end blogs. So, I’ll leave some credits below.

Thanks to BIMA for the place on the course and to the instructors who did an incredible job of going through the material. Thanks to the Google staff who made us feel so welcome and made the most delicious lunches.

Jarryd Trokis
Posted by Jarryd Trokis

Jarryd is a member of the front-end team at MMT Digital. A passionate learner, he is interested in the latest tech and writes blogs, reflecting his own, personal, views.

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