A while ago the author of "Progressive Web Apps", Jason Grigsby, graciously shared with me an advance copy of his book. Things happened and I fell a bit behind, but I finally found time to finish reading the book and thought I'd share my opinion. Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) are easily one of the hottest topics now. I've been doing my own part to learn, write, and present, on the topic for about two years now, but honestly feel like I'm still just scratching the surface. It doesn't help that the technology behind PWA feels like it's changing every day. Not only do you have new APIs to learn, you have entirely new browser behaviors to figure out as well. It's a huge topic and one that I think will continue to be talked about heavily for years to come.

The last book I read on PWAs was way back in 2017 ("Review: Building Progressive Web Apps"). That book was very well done and very heavy on code examples. The book I'm reviewing today, "Progressive Web Apps", is completely different.

Grigsby's book has, perhaps, 20 lines of code in the entire book (a bit over 150 pages). Right away that may raise a red flag for you. But instead of spending time sharing code, Grigsby goes into incredible detail about the why and the how of every single aspect of PWA development. Let's be honest, you can easily find code samples related to offline caching and push, but Grigsby tells you why you would consider these features and what they mean for users. Time and time again I found myself nodding along as I read as Grigsby did his best to make you consider why you would use (or not use!) a particular API.

Another way this book shines is by how far it goes into explaining how browsers will react to certain features, like saving to the home screen. He shows screen shots, compares multiple browsers, and just goes to incredible lengths to show you the result of the code you would use rather than pages and pages of JavaScript.

I can absolutely recommend this book if you want to get a deep introduction to PWAs before you start writing code. It's also the perfect kind of book you could share with a non-technical manager. (And to be clear, I'm not saying it isn't appropriate for developers. This developer was very happy with it!)

Here's the table of contents:

  • Defining Progressive Web Apps
  • The Case for PWAs
  • Making It Feel Like an App
  • Installation and Discovery
  • Offline
  • Push Notifications
  • Beyond PWAs
  • Progressive Roadmap (my favorite chapter)
  • A Web for Everyone

If you've read this book as well, please leave me a comment below telling me what you think.