Designing a PWA with Bootstrap in 2023

What design principles should you follow for your PWA with Bootstrap? How can you add PWA features to your Bootstrap app without writing code? These are some of the questions I'll try to answer in this quickstart guide.

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Getting started with Bootstrap & Progressier

  1. Illustration screenshot for Sign up for Progressier

    1Sign up for Progressier

    Create a new PWA in Progressier, then choose JavaScript in the menu. Follow the instructions provided, which will walk you through the process of adding an app manifest andservice worker to your app (no code to write!).

  2. Illustration screenshot for Install your PWA

    2Install your PWA

    Progressier makes your Bootstrap app installable, automatically creates an install page for your app, and gives you access to PWA promotion widgets.

  3. Illustration screenshot for Send push notifications

    3Send push notifications

    You'll also get access to a complete push notification solution, which lets you define when and how to prompt users to allow notifications, and then notify them manually (from our dashboard) or programmatically (from our API).

  4. Illustration screenshot for Design your Bootstrap PWA

    4Design your Bootstrap PWA

    Check out our PWA design guidelines for Bootstrap below to make your app look and feel more native.

Which PWA features does Bootstrap support?

Android Installation

Your Bootstrap PWA is installable on Android tablets or smartphones in a click.

iOS Installation

Let users add your Bootstrap PWA to their home screen with our custom iOS install prompt.

Windows Installation

Your PWA can be installed from Chrome and Edge to your users' Desktop and/or Taskbar.

macOS Installation

Get your app installed on macOS from Chrome — Progressier walks users through installing your PWA to their Docks.

Chrome OS Installation

Progressier is also a great solution to get your app installed on Chrome OS.

Install Page

A beautiful single-purpose page to send to your users as a direct link to install your Bootstrap PWA on their device.

Original Domain Installation

Your app is directly installable right from your own domain

Web App Manifest

Progressier builds a PWA manifest with your preferences set in the dashboard, with toggles and inputs instead of lines of code

Service Worker

A service worker is a file that runs independently from the main browser thread and that allows to define how to cache and refresh resources. It's also the mechanism by which push notifications can be delivered to a user who's not on your site. Progressier lets you customize the service worker in details without having to write code.

Cache Static Resources

Progressier has a built-in caching strategy builder that lets you configure how each type of resources should be cached and refreshed. No code to write.

100% Offline-Ready

If you have full control over all the resources required for your website to work, you can make your site work 100% offline in Progressier without writing a single line of code.

Push Campaigns

Notify all your users of news in your app with our dashboard and/or API. Progressier manages all user push subscriptions for you.

Personalized Notifications

Send notifications to any particular user manually or programmatically. All your need is their email, their user ID or any other information that identifies them in your system.

Connect User Data

Connect your own user data (emails, account type, etc). So when a user authorizes push notifications in your Bootstrap PWA, their data is also saved along with it.

In-App PWA Promotion

A set of tools that allow you to promote installation of your PWA within the body of your app, including custom install buttons and floating action buttons.

Offline Alerts

Let users know when they lose their Internet connection.

Request Notifications After Installation

Prompt users to allow push notifications right after they have installed your app. Less intrusive = better conversion rate.

Install & Push Analytics

Progressier tracks installs of your Bootstrap PWA over time. Also tracks push subscriptions.

Programmatic PWA Creation

Create Bootstrap PWAs programmatically with our API.

Google Play & App Store Upload

With our PWABuilder integration, you can list your Bootstrap PWA on Google Play or the App Store.

Why choose Bootstrap and Progressier for your PWA?

Progressier takes care of the heavy lifting when it comes to PWA features (e.g. installation, push notification, offline capabilities). In 5 minutes, you'll get all these features added to your existing app without having to write any code. Bootstrap simplifies the process of creating mobile-first responsive designs that make your app look and feel like a native app.

Should my app be mobile-first or desktop-first?

Obviously, there isn't a one-size-fits-all answer to this question. Some apps are meant to be used mostly on desktop, while others are almost exclusively used on mobile devices and tablets. Although, as a rule of thumb, since PWAs (or Universal Apps, as I like to call them) are meant to work cross-platform, you should strive to make them work perfectly on both desktop and mobile devices.

In a lot of cases, that means going beyond the Desktop First or Mobile First paradigms — it’s not just about changing the size of elements on the page. Because of the smaller screen real estate and touch capabilities, mobile UIs tend to display only one interactive element at a time. On the other hand, desktop UIs usually have many of them shown on screen at the same time. Here are a few examples of that:

Desktop dropdown menu becomes a mobile bottom drawer A desktop dropdown menu becomes a mobile bottom drawer

Desktop accordion items become a full screen component on mobile Desktop accordion items become a full screen component on mobile

Desktop side panel becomes a search bar on mobile Desktop side panel becomes a search bar on mobile

Should I design my PWA with Bootstrap or Tailwind?

Both Bootstrap and Tailwind are fine choices of frameworks for building the components of your Progressive Web App. Tailwind is lighter than Bootstrap, which results in faster load times. Tailwind is much younger than Bootstrap, so it is perhaps not as robust yet. Tailwind is designed to create flexible and functional UI components, whereas Bootstrap aims to make it easy to develop appwide components. Tailwind is an overall better tool for creating apps, whereas Bootstrap might be a better choice for websites.

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