Progressive Web Apps, or PWA, utilize cutting-edge technology to deliver front-line features capable of transforming the typical online shopping experience. Engaging, fast, and 100 percent responsive across any device, the use of PWAs is becoming increasingly common for companies of all types and sizes.
For many, choosing a PWA solution comes down to two options: Vue Storefront or Magento PWA Studio. Both platforms have been around for a while and serve as the go-to solutions for brands looking to expand their online presence. However, choosing the best one to help your business is no easy feat.
Recognizing a general lack of public knowledge regarding PWA ecommerce solutions, in this article, we’ll dive deep into the subject and two of today’s leading platforms to help you select the right one for your business. But first things first…
Put simply, a PWA is a website designed to look and feel just like an app on a smart mobile device. However, rather than being delivered through an app store, they are delivered via the Web.
PWAs also have app-like features, allowing for offline use, notifications, shortcut icons, and more. With everything they offer, PWAs are gaining serious momentum in the smartphone age.
That being said, creating and implementing a PWA requires the right tools. Vue Storefront and Magento Studio both deliver those tools. Let’s compare each, so you can become more familiar with the specific opportunities both platforms can deliver for your business or business clients.
It didn’t take Magento long to recognize the potential of PWA technology. It launched Magento Studio to provide a unique set of tools for the development of PWA storefronts on Magento 2. With it, brands can create a convenient app icon and website shortcut for user’s devices.
While a Magento storefront will remain a Magento storefront at its core, Magento PWA allows it to perform like a native app for an enhanced user experience. Merchants can open web APIs and access blazing fast front-end architecture to overhaul their stores into what is quickly becoming the new standard.
The Buildpack includes the core development and build libraries and tools needed to build a lightning quick front-end and PWA. With it, you can set up your local environment and configure it for PWA development.
PWA Storefront, or Venia Storefront, is a proof-of-concept PWA using the PWA Buildpack and a collection of Peregrine tools. The storefront provides examples of category pages and product details, making it helpful when exploring PWA Studio and all it can do.
As we just mentioned, Magento’s Peregrine project includes a collection of tools and UI components for building a Magento PWA. The components can be used, extended, and remixed to develop unique PWA storefronts built on Magento 2.
Vue’s Storefront platform is another popular choice for ecommerce PWA development. It is open-source and platform-agnostic, allowing it to be used on any ecommerce platform and supported by an active community of users.
Unlike Magento, Vue can work with any back-end and enjoy full functionality using an API. This is one of its main advantages. It can connect to Magento, BigCommerce, and so on.
Like Magento’s PWA Buildpack, Vue’s Storefront Core is essentially the glue responsible for holding the storefront together and enabling it to work. It features the build process, SSR behavior, entry points, in-app helpers, and more.
These modules are simply ecommerce features. Each one is a standalone feature, such as a catalog or cart. Users can edit, add, or remove these modules as they see fit, allowing them to only use the features they want or need for their Storefront shop.
Themes are store implementations that provide users with access to the logic from the Storefront Core and Storefront Modules and allow them to add their own HTML styles and markup. Each theme is fully customizable.
Both Magento and Vue’s PWA solutions have their fair share of pros and cons. Here’s the rundown on each to give you a better idea of what to expect.
Comprehensive Development Tools
Magento Studio’s PWA development tools are up-to-date and feature extensive documentation. With them, users can easily configure and set up their own local PWA development environments.
Magento Studio makes setting up PWAs easy from the back-end. Users can place the Magento instance URL in the .env file, clone a repository, and execute a command to successfully run the application. From the very first use, it’s clear ease of development was a main priority.
GraphQL uses declarative data fetching, which means PWAs built with Magento Studio experience almost zero over fetching of queries and an improved ability to handle multiple users from a variety of sources.
Magento is a widely popular ecommerce platform, resulting in a strong global support community of Magento PWA users and contributors.
Magento Studio PWA requires each store to run on Magento 2.3 and newer builds. While this means there is no need to worry about compatibility issues, it is also quite limiting.
Lack of Compatibility
Speaking of compatibility issues, Magento Studio’s GraphicQL feature also makes it incompatible with older versions.
iOS Support Issues
Magento doesn’t support iOS PWA notifications and will not work with iOS devices offline.
Validation issues can occur when creating new customer accounts. This is especially true for iOS users during the password creation process. When a chosen password fails to meet the password requirements, a notification cannot be sent.
Unlike Magento, Vue’s Storefront PWA product works on every ecommerce platform.
When requests are crawled by a search engine, Vue’s server-side rendering handles it, allowing for more dynamic page HTML.
Dynamic Technology Stack
Built on Vue.js, developers are able to write JS code from the server side and the client side to enhance data synchronization.
Vue’s offline browser storage allows for native API caching.
Since it is open source, Vue-Storefront is updated ad improved upon regularly. Strong community support is also a plus.
Despite being compatible with almost every ecommerce platform, several unresolved issues remain. Some features are also not iOS compatible.
Lack of Documentation
There are several complaints of Vue being troublesome to install; and its lack of documentation does not help.
Compared to GraphQL, Vue’s use of REST API results in a lag when it comes to requests response.
Fewer Payment Options
Vue-Storefront cannot be used with a few payment gateways.
Not as Many Features
Vue lacks some of Magento’s features, does not support jQuery, and has a few minor bugs to work out.
Feature-wise, these two leading PWA platforms are just about neck and neck. Nonetheless, here’s a breakdown of the most important features offered by each.
ReactJS – ReactJS performs better than VueJS and delivers a superior shopping and developer experience.
Home Screen Alternative – A store powered by Magento PWA can be downloaded on the home screen to look and function like a native app.
Works Offline – PWA web apps can work offline without internet connectivity.
Strong Back-End – Magento’s solid in-house back-end ensures seamless use without frequent glitches.
Multi-Platform Support – Vue’s advanced framework is designed to support multiple platforms and assist in the development of complex applications with little effort. It’s a great give a website an omnichannel presence.
PWA technology is exciting, promising, and rapidly evolving. Magento and Vue are at the forefront of its evolution and each delivers PWA solutions designed to transform the mobile shopping experience.
Both Magento and Vue have their own unique pros and cons, but the beauty of Magento PWA solutions is the ability to build and maintain PWAs manually. Magento’s tools are proven to work and highly adjustable to anyone’s specific development needs.
If you need help with your Magento store and implementing PWA technology, Chetu can help. Our experienced team of Magento programmers can transform your standard Magento store into a blazing fast PWA in no time at all. Feel free to reach out.
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