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What is The Difference Between SPA and PWA? iRiverAmerica

As web applications take over the standard websites in terms of popularity, their structuring and efficiency are increasingly becoming topics of interest.

There are two main structuring approaches for developing web applications known as PWA and SPAs.

In the course of this article, we will be discussing what each of them entails and how they work.

Single Page Applications (SPAs)

A website that is downloaded altogether from the server when the main page is launched is known as a Single Page Application website.

The page is updated dynamically which means that when a user clicks a button or widget, the necessary content is refreshed while the rest remains the same.

This eliminated the need for the browser being refreshed as the application codes are fetched once only.

A common misconception about SPAs is that it slows down the performance of the website due to all features being loaded at once.

However, this is simply not true as AMD and API’s are used to manage the smooth working of such websites

Some examples of SPAs are Facebook, Gmail and the popular web-streaming platform, Netflix.

Progressive Web Apps (PWAs)

PWAs employ guidelines and checklists and have service workers as a foundation of features such as push notifications and offline availability.

The function of Service workers is that of a proxy between the network and the browser helping intercept network requests and caching website assets.

Some of the popular websites that employ the PWA approach in their websites include Pinterest, Flipboard and Soundslice.

How Are SPA and PWA Different?

Both approaches to developing Web Applications are fairly new and user-friendly as compared to the traditional development of websites but differ in terms of functionality.

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Speed: PWAs are reliable, engaging and fast as their content is always fetched instantly.

This is because service workers and UI are being run separately. SPAs require a bit of initial loading time.

Caching: In the case of PWA, the caching usually takes place in an independent performance mode.

The caching is also reserved as the app employs a dedicated cache and doesn’t use the server for support. If you require real-time interaction, you have the option of setting up a backup.

SPA’s caching differs from project to project. Caching can take place via a DOM storage that is either local or session-based.

HTTP caching is also one of the methods that can be employed by the developers where multiple requests can be taken care of without client-side data being utilized.

If there are dynamic requests directly from the cache, server-side caching is used to speed up the website performance.

SEO: PWAs are considered to have better SEO as compared to SPAs, however, this is a misconception.

UX/UI: Even though both website development approaches are much better in terms of user-friendliness as compared to traditional websites, PWAs have better features than SPAs.

Security: SPAs are likely to be attacked by hackers, XSS, and MITM which is why additional tools need to utilized to protect the website.

If PWA is being used for development, HTTPS protocol provides an adequate level of security.

Accessibility: Due to the availability of offline interaction capability, PWAs are rated better when it comes to accessibility.

Development cost: There isn’t much difference between the costs of the two but due to lack of PWA developers, users find it a less cost-efficient option.

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If you’d like to read a more detailed comparison between SPA and PWA, check this out.

Both development methods have revolutionized the way we develop websites, but depending on the scope and nature of your project, one may be better for you than the other.

If you cannot make up your mind and need advice, MPS will be happy to assist you.

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