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Anyone heard of, (or have opinions of) mini apps?

LEGEND ,
Sep 12, 2019

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Doing my weekly reading of W3C announcements, I came across the 1st white paper for 'mini apps' , which although on a quick read through looks interesting, (with some interesting possibilities for developers). I am however still confused as to the how, (installed) and the why of them.

 

Read - Click to view mini app white paper.

 

Anyone have any thoughts, especially on 'mini apps' vs PWA's, (as possible alternative to PWA's for small buisnesses)?

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Anyone heard of, (or have opinions of) mini apps?

LEGEND ,
Sep 12, 2019

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Doing my weekly reading of W3C announcements, I came across the 1st white paper for 'mini apps' , which although on a quick read through looks interesting, (with some interesting possibilities for developers). I am however still confused as to the how, (installed) and the why of them.

 

Read - Click to view mini app white paper.

 

Anyone have any thoughts, especially on 'mini apps' vs PWA's, (as possible alternative to PWA's for small buisnesses)?

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Sep 12, 2019 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Sep 12, 2019

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At the moment, I am heavily into experimenting with PWA's while never having had much enthousiasm for native apps. The mere fact that I do not have to code for a device with subsequent permissions (read: payments) to publish the app has been the reason behind this. One of the only advantage that a native app has over a PWA is that it can be trusted as far as the app store can be trusted. I know that there are many more differences, some that are advantageous for specific applications. My point of view is from my regular customer.

 

With the hybrid solution (mini app), the app can be published without an intervening store, but the developer is still stuck with native interactions which differ per device. This will still bump up the development time.

 

PWA's are getting more and more leverage from giants like Microsoft and Google with Apple dragging their feet. The latter does not even recognise a manifest (at the time of writing this). Just have a look at this informative series  https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLNYkxOF6rcIB2xHBZ7opgc2Mv009X87Hh

 

My conclusion is that there is no alternative for small business but to go PWA.


Ben
Enjoy the videos and music you love, upload original content, and share it all with friends, family, and the world on YouTube.

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Sep 12, 2019 2
LEGEND ,
Sep 13, 2019

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Thanks for the reply Ben,

 

I had never heard of 'mini' apps before reading the white paper, and could not work out how they would be installed without going through an app store. If they are intended to be complementary to PWA's, (which is the impression I had from reading) then I can see them as being thought of as a 'quick' and easy way for end users to have any features thought essential available. Making those features easier to find and use.

 

That said, if 'mini' apps have to be installed via an app store, then I cannot see any use for them. Which is why I posted the question.

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Sep 13, 2019 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Sep 13, 2019

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Basically, a mini app is the same as a PWA, but it makes use of the internals that are native to the device, such as finger print and geolocation. The advantage that a mini app has over a native app is that it does not clog the device up with data.. The disadvantage remains coding for the different platforms. Having to register through an app store is not obligatory.

Ben

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Sep 13, 2019 0
LEGEND ,
Sep 13, 2019

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Thank you Ben, as I said I had never heard of them before reading the wjite paper. The 'not having to register through an app store', will I think be a great selling point for them. It is only a personal opinion, but hopefully the api's they talk about developing, will make development much easier for many, as a 'standard' method of creation would place them above full blown device specific apps, especially for those concentrating mainly on websites and PWA's.

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Sep 13, 2019 0
LEGEND ,
Sep 13, 2019

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Personally I don't see that any app is any good unless you have access to the full content and clickable links. Certainly in the case of PWA's you don't. I don't know how mini-apps work but unless they provide the full-package they too would be pointless in my opinion. I think an app should be totally seperate from a website, a dedicated and more controlled environment. The problem is if you let a lot of unknowledgeable and unskilled developers free in areas they know virtually nothing about then the quality deteriorates very fast, so whatever good parts are present in a workflow, generally get lost in transisions.

 

 

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Sep 13, 2019 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Sep 13, 2019

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A PWA is a normal website where the content is curtailed to suit the application. Spotify (https://www.simicart.com/blog/spotify-pwa/) is a recent addition to the growing army of PWA's.

Ben

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Sep 13, 2019 0
LEGEND ,
Sep 13, 2019

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Thanks for the thought Os,

 

The user case I thought of after reading the white paper, was -

If a regular customer purchases something, then a 'mini' app could be used for order tracking, (dispatched, on-the-way, estimated delivery time). That would alleviate any requirement by the customer to log into the site just to find out what is happening to the order.

 

Instalation of the 'mini' app is the big problem as far as I can see. I know tablet devices are going over to be more like desktops, so maybe instalation from an app store will not be required by tablet devices.

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Sep 13, 2019 0
LEGEND ,
Sep 13, 2019

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Just send an email. Order tracking - doesn't that constitute 'real-time information' so surely you would need to be connected to the internet?

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Sep 13, 2019 0
LEGEND ,
Sep 13, 2019

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Yes, but a 'mini' app is from what I can understand, only for essential or complementary info. It is not intended to replace a 'fully blown' site or PWA features.

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Sep 13, 2019 0
LEGEND ,
Sep 13, 2019

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So a client essentiallly needs a full-blown website, plus a PWA and now a mini-app for good measure, what next?

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Sep 13, 2019 0
LEGEND ,
Sep 13, 2019

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A PWA is complementary to a web site. A 'mini' app is for complementary features when a fully blown app or PWA would be overkill.

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Sep 13, 2019 0
LEGEND ,
Sep 13, 2019

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Probably have to wait and see how it evolves. I'm not that impressed with the workflows currently, which are trying to combine an app and a website into one package.

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Sep 13, 2019 0
LEGEND ,
Sep 13, 2019

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I think we are back into the same uncertain times that mobile devices have created. I never thought device specific apps would catch on. But with the always connected times we now live in, both clients and end users expect more, (probably for less) than having to log into a web site to do anything.

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Sep 13, 2019 0
LEGEND ,
Sep 13, 2019

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I thought that PWA was trying to negate 'always connected'. My only comment on that is - if you cannot be without interet connection for a couple of hours then there is no hope BUT look at how many walk around with a smartphone glued to their ear informing someone they are walkng down the street or twitter where they share what they have had for breakfast..

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Sep 13, 2019 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Sep 13, 2019

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Any current website can be a PWA, all that is needed HTTPS, a Manifest and a Service Worker. I think it essential that real 'professional' web developers embrace the technology for it will not be long before this will be mainstream.

Ben

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Sep 13, 2019 0
LEGEND ,
Sep 13, 2019

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I'm replying in a new post, as the small reply box for sub-replys does not allow me to format my text.

 

I don't think PWAs becoming main stream would be a good thing for the web. Simply because most sites do not require it. For most sites they are overkill, plus they require thought to be put into how they work, in addition to and beyond what many people creating 'run of the mill' sites are willing to invest. Once they become anywhere near automated in there creation, (which many will want) how many end users will use them?

 

If we read those who are not interested in web standards and accessibility, we see and read a lot of 'bad practices' and misinformation being written, (then followed) by many. Look at Animate, or discussions in the Ps forum about how the web works, and you will see and read lots that no longer reflect how things should or does work, or posts from users that simply want to use new methods to replace old outdated ones, (such as using html5 canvas to replace flash) but ignoring all the problems and reasons why the old methods have been replaced and worse still ignoring the modern web and the standards now required.

 

Maybe 'mini' apps will have a place, as they are more specific to answering a specific client/end-user requirement than full blown apps or PWA, especially if they do follow the W3C standards. But a PWA 'free for all' would I think simply 'kill' the reasons why and when of their use.

 

 

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Sep 13, 2019 0
LEGEND ,
Sep 13, 2019

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I agree with you. Most websites do not require a PWA approach. Ben cites Spotify which hardly qualifies as being the norm for the majority of websites. Lets stop this silly obsession with what the likes of Facebook, Twitter, et al are doing because they have little in common with the majority of clients and the majority of what most web-developers produce.

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Sep 13, 2019 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Sep 13, 2019

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Each to their own. My clients have shown a preference to utilise the messaging system (push notifications) through the app. Messages like appointment reminders through to new product announcements.

Ben

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Sep 13, 2019 0
LEGEND ,
Sep 14, 2019

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I'm not saying don't build PWAs, just that they must be a requirement if built. Reading the 'mini' app paper they would be an ideal solution for sites that do not require a full blown PWA.

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Sep 14, 2019 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Sep 13, 2019

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So, you think that I am going down the 8-track/Betamax path again? Once a loser always a loser type of thing? I still think that it is an exciting bit of technology with huge potential.

Ben

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Sep 13, 2019 0
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LEGEND ,
Sep 14, 2019

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No doubt its exciting, agreed, but with many considerations to be taken into account, not left in the hands of the unskilled app builder, which is why l think this deserves the attention of those more suited to building apps which is not your average web developer.

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Sep 14, 2019 0