Let's imagine that there are a potential customer and an offer from a seller. Magento 2 online store is one of the option to exchange information between them to make a purchase. A variety of shipping and payment methods completes the perfect sales cycle, where everyone has got what they want.

All attempts between online stores to be better than the competitor couldn't go beyond the well-established system. We can attribute to these efforts:

  • various promotions;
  • discounts;
  • cooperation with the best delivery services (BTW, you already know Mageside preferences;
  • creation of favorable terms of installments in the web store;
  • production of the most attractive website with an incredibly user-friendly interface.

This list can last for a long time, but there is one factor, the lack of which crosses out all the merits of even incredible web stores by a massive red line. You probably guess what it is - the internet.

It's like a vast ocean where your business yacht is dwelling, which can be fast, shiny, and beautiful. Its sails can catch the lightest changes of wind (read like: of trends), and cabins for passengers (read like: for customers), can be incredibly lovely and comfortable. But if someone immediately removes all the water, then the business yacht will fly into the abyss. Likewise, the best-in-world web store will make a horrible impression if users are unable to update it because of the interruptions of the internet.

Before the popularization of PWA technology, in such conditions and with the same risks were all e-commerce platforms.

Back in 2015, Frances Berriman and Alex Russell came up with the term Progressive Web Application (PWA). By 2018 this type of application is supported by the main browsers. Currently, PWA technology is spreading at breakneck speed, actively promoted by Google, and smoothly integrating with Magento 2 pages. Such dynamics allowed us to call this development as the technology of the future. You can read more about it here: Progressive web app offer enormous opportunities for your store

The great achievement of PWA is the ability to store all the primary resources of the application on the client and to transmit only dynamic content over the network. Functionality that used to belong to native apps (offline mode, periodic background synchronization, push notifications, etc.) is now confidently migrating to the Web, and the Service Worker makes this possible.

The transition of a regular web site to PWA is as smooth and gradual as possible. There's no need to cancel the website work process at the time of transition. So the customers can continue to enjoy the full pages' functionality without disruptions.

What is a Service Worker?

The core of PWA is the Service Worker. It's basically just a particular script. Its key feature is the ability to intercept and process all browser requests. It's already a premise for development analogs of full-fledged applications for online webpages! In practice, the Service Worker allows us to create a web page that uses mostly cached information.

As a result, a web store will function in the normal mode even if there's a problem with the internet. Users won't notice the difference. The behavior of the displayed content will occur offline until it's possible to receive more data over the network. That's why the PWA can compete now with native applications.

For example:

  • a visitor created a request on a frontend.
  • A Service Worker accepts this request from the browser and checks the network status.
  • If the network isn't available for some reason, the Service Worker takes the cached data from the repository, makes manipulations set by the programmer, and returns the necessary information to the browser.

For the browser and the visitor, everything looks as if the response with the information has come directly from the server (unless the developer indicates something else). Service Worker caching functionality will be enough for most websites to turn into a PWA.

Important details

Service Worker is a javascript file that connects to a page in HTML code. The other detail is that the Service Worker contains a terminate function. So, as the programmer uploads the pile of data to the production for the user's comfortable website interaction, customers would see and use it until the Service Worker gets new uploaded data.

JavaScript Promises

Service Workers make extensive use of Promises, it's a good thing to remember. In a nutshell, this is a convenient way to start asynchronous operations. A code that needs to do multiple tasks asynchronously creates a Promise object. An external code recognizes and responds to it. When operations complete, the asynchronous code translates the Promise into one of its possible states. More details about the Promises can be found here Working with Promises.

Conclusion

PWA and service worker functionality is a technology that has stretched out around the world in a short time. Service Worker allows developers to implement a lot of features that a regular website can't do.

All it takes to move from a website to a PWA is clever programmers and some time. The big plus is that when upgrading a web store to PWA, it can function as usual so that the online store won't lose any customers. Think about improving today!

If you are wondering how to implement PWA in Magento 2 read here: How to install Service Worker and implement PWA in Magento 2 ?