In past years, if an app needed to be cross-platform and run on multiple operating systems, there was little — if any — code that could be re-used from the initial development project. Essentially, each device required its own mobile app development project with its own code base. Modern cross-platform tools use common languages such as C# and JavaScript to share code across projects; more importantly, they integrate well with application lifecycle management tools, such as Jenkins. This allows developers to use a single code base for Apple iOS, Google Android and progressive web apps (PWAs). A progressive web app is a website that looks and behaves as if it is a mobile app.

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PWAs are built to take advantage of native mobile device features, without requiring the end user to visit an app store, make a purchase and download software locally. Instead, a PWA can be located with a search engine query and accessed immediately through a browser, thereby eliminating the need for e-commerce merchants to develop native apps for multiple mobile operating systems. Just like YouTube videos, PWA content is downloaded progressively, which provides the end user with a better user experience than a traditional website that uses responsive design. Progressive web apps may also be referred to as instant mobile apps.

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