Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Appscope Makes Finding Progressive Web Apps Easier

You know that we love talking about all things Progressive Web App here on the Lumavate blog, so when we heard that there was an “app store” for PWAs, we had to do some digging.

PWA Recap
Progressive Web Apps are the latest mobile tech giving today’s users all the made-for-mobile functionality of native mobile apps without the download. That’s right…no more downloading and updating in the app store! This is great for a few reasons: first, they’re more discoverable since they can be found via a quick Google search; second, the overall user experience is so much more frictionless without having to go through the cumbersome cycle of download, update, and repeat that typically comes with native apps.

Enter: Appscope
As PWAs catch on with brands and consumers alike, there’s a leading website collecting, organizing, and categorizing PWAs–Appscope. Its developers describe it as an “app store for PWAs.” While calling it a store is a bit of a misnomer (since all of the PWAs are absolutely free!), the directory’s interface is very similar to other app stores we’ve come to know.  

From games to travel to education, Appscope’s directory is home to hundreds of PWAs. Among those listed, you’ll find a few big-name brands like Twitter, Instagram, Google Maps, Uber, and Starbucks. For every PWA listed, Appscope provides a quick description, screenshots of the PWA, key features, and the PWA’s Google Lighthouse score. From a PWA’s description page, launching that app is as easy as a click.

An App Store for PWAs? Doesn’t That Ruin the Point?
In short, no! The reason the app store process is so cumbersome is because the app store is the only place you can go to access native apps. The PWAs in Appscope are still discoverable via Google searches and URLs–Appscope’s platform just aggregates them and puts them all in one spot, which helps users that are interested in experiencing and exploring the benefits of PWAs as they gain more traction. Really, Appscope is much more of a directory than an app store. And, there’s no “download” involved. When you “install” a PWA via Appscope, you’re simply saving it to your homescreen, which happens instantaneously.

As PWAs gain traction, I expect PWA directories, like Appscope, to start popping up more and more. Even as an early player, Appscope has a lot going for it. I encourage you to check it out to see for yourself! You can also stay up to date with Appscope and the latest on PWAs on Twitter.