Last week you heard our reasons to jump on the PWA bandwagon, this week we’re going to tell you why you should wait.
5 Reasons to Wait on Implementing PWA
#1: By Definition You’d be an Early Adopter
At this point in time (February 2019), both Magento and Shopify are in the early stages of PWA. There are just seven approaches in Magento ecosystem, and a smattering of third-party service providers that have created PWA plugins. Make no mistake: it’s in it’s early days, and you’d be an early adopter. Of course there are benefits to being early, but you also run the risk of investing in development that won’t ultimately mesh with Magento’s way of doing things. That’s not good.
Two weeks ago, Magento released PWA Studio, which is its own PWA architecture. We’re glad that Magento put a stake in the ground, essentially telling the market, “this is the right way to do PWA on Magento.” But PWA Studio is effectively a beta product, and doesn’t have as many features as other commercial products available on the marketplace.
#2: You’ll Pay More to Implement
It’s hard to get around the fact that it’s more difficult, and consequently costly, to implement anything that isn’t market tested by the developer community. Without a doubt, it will be harder to implement PWA today on Magento than if you would if you were to wait for the ecosystem to mature.
And the same is true Shopify. Shopify has its own plugin ecosystem and PWA stores certainly exist, but they’re not yet mature. The three or four plugins I’ve seen are mostly demos. More telling, visit ShopifyPWA.com to see how many sites are successfully running PWA on Shopify (you can count them on your hands).
If you implement PWA now, you will surely be paying for a highly custom implementation, which will raise your total cost of ownership. And if you select an approach that the ecosystem ultimately rejects, you may find yourself paying for a do over.
#3: Not All Browsers Support PWA Yet
Not all browsers support PWA at this time. Now that’s changing as we write this; check out caniuse.com, and enter “Service Workers” for real time updates of supported browsers. You’ll get a detailed listing of where every browser stands in terms of PWA support.
If a sizeable portion of your users (or even just a tiny subset) use a browser that doesn’t support PWA, they won’t benefit from your PWA investments. They may even have a poor brand experience.
Again, this is changing quickly, but until there’s full coverage, why risk alienating your customers?
#4: PWA isn’t the Only Option for Desired Features
We’ve spoken to a lot of people about PWA and we’re often left with the impression that many equate advanced UI features with PWA. For instance, there is a misconception that PWA is a requirement for, say, using a phone’s camera to scan a barcode (it’s not, you can use a camera on any web app without it being PWA). The same is true about a lot of motion features, or what we call UI eye candy functionality. These are UI features that can be built into your existing site without PWA.
#5: Troubleshooting will be Harder
One of the great benefits with both Shopify and Magento is the robust ecosystem of people who have already solved certain problems, and from whom we can learn. This is the open source mantra; it’s the philosophy of sharing information openly. At the moment there isn’t a critical mass of people doing PWA, so if you encounter a problem, you’re kind of on your own. You won’t be able to Google an answer for an error you’ve received. If you’re an extraordinary developer who can solve just about any problem, then go ahead and give it a try. If not, you may want to way until the developer community does what it does best: try multiple approaches and opine loudly on it until a consensus emerges.
To Wait or Not?
Ultimately, the decision is yours. We’ve given you the pros and cons of both. If you’re still not sure, give your Something Digital team a call. We’ve implemented plenty of PWA sites, and will be happy to talk you through our experiences.