What the heck are Progressive Web Apps? Well, the name is honestly a bit confusing, but the bottom line is that they are website-based applications that work more like traditional, hard drive-based apps and that don’t have to go through an online app store to be installed. Once in use, they use the advanced functions of your device (like GPS), but are ‘progressive’ in the sense that if your device doesn’t support a particular function or feature, the app is smart enough to know how to work without it.
Chris Hoffman at howtogeek.com provides an excellent explainer:
Ever wish web apps behaved more like real apps? Progressive Web Apps are a new technology that’s aiming to make that happen.
Here’s the quick summary: Google, Microsoft, Mozilla and other companies are working on a new, modern web application standard. Even Apple is following along and implementing support for it. These applications are web apps, but they behave more like native apps. Like existing web apps, they’ll be hosted directly on their associated website. Developers can update them directly on their web server without submitting those updates to several different app stores, and the same app will run on all browsers and platforms.