How to make your Nextjs app into a progressive web app

Published June 6, 2020

banner image

Contents

What is a PWA (Progressive Web app)?

Let's think it like this way, It is a website but with some feature of a native mobile application:

  • It will work offline
  • Install like a native mobile application
  • A Native application like experience
  • It increases your web-app performance
  • It caches most of the content so you won't have to fetch for most common things every time
  • Increases your chance of being indexed by google search engines
  • More secure

and many more.

Make a manifest.json file

  • Go to the public directory inside of your Nextjs application.
  • Create a file called manifest.json
{
  "name": "<YOUR_APP_NAME>",
  "short_name": "<YOUR_APP_SHORT_NAME>",
  "start_url": "/",
  "display": "standalone",
  "background_color": "#90cdf4",
  "theme_color": "#90cdf4",
  "orientation": "portrait-primary",
  "icons": [
    {
      "src": "/logo-72x72.png",
      "type": "image/png",
      "sizes": "72x72"
    },
    {
      "src": "/logo-96x96.png",
      "type": "image/png",
      "sizes": "96x96"
    },
    {
      "src": "/logo-128x128.png",
      "type": "image/png",
      "sizes": "128x128"
    },
    {
      "src": "/logo-144x144.png",
      "type": "image/png",
      "sizes": "144x144"
    },
    {
      "src": "/logo-152x152.png",
      "type": "image/png",
      "sizes": "152x152"
    },
    {
      "src": "/logo-192x192.png",
      "type": "image/png",
      "sizes": "192x192"
    },
    {
      "src": "/logo-384x384.png",
      "type": "image/png",
      "sizes": "384x384"
    },
    {
      "src": "/logo-512x512.png",
      "type": "image/png",
      "sizes": "512x512"
    }
  ]
}
  • name: application main name
  • short_name: application short name
  • start_url: the preferred URL that should be loaded when the user launches your web application
  • display: if given standalone, then web-app will be shown in a separate window
  • background_color: defines a placeholder background color for the application page to display before its stylesheet is loaded.
  • theme_color: defines the default theme color for the application.
  • orientation - defines the orientation of your application in the device.
  • icons- an array of different sizes of your application logo, its type and its src (source) to tell where to fetch the icon.

Note:

There is a cool Web app manifest generator for this 😃.

Add manifest.json to Nextjs app

Link your manifest.json file to your Nextjs app head tag.

<!-- link manifest.json -->
<link rel="manifest" href="/manifest.json" />
<!-- this sets the color of url bar  -->
<meta name="theme-color" content="#90cdf4" />

Now if you go to Devtools then clicking on the Application tab and then Manifest tab you can see all the fields are now generated, which shows that our manifest.json is valid now.

Manifest

Nice 🎊

Note:

To make this work on apple based smartphones you need to add this additionally.

<!-- this sets logo in Apple smatphones. -->
<link rel="apple-touch-icon" href="/logo-96x96.png" />
<!-- this sets the color of url bar in Apple smatphones -->
<meta name="apple-mobile-web-app-status-bar" content="#90cdf4" />

Adding a service worker

First, let's install a package called next-offline

yarn add -D next-offline

Add the next-offline package to Nextjs config

Create a file called next.config.js in the root of your project directory.

Then add this piece of code,

const withOffline = require("next-offline");

// your next.js configs
const nextConfig = {};

module.exports = withOffline(nextConfig);

Make a server to route requests:

Run in terminal

yarn add -D express

After that create server.js file to route your /service-worker.js file like this:

const express = require("express");
const path = require("path");
const next = require("next");

const dev = process.env.NODE_ENV !== "production";
const app = next({ dev });
const handle = app.getRequestHandler();

app
  .prepare()
  .then(() => {
    const server = express();

    // requests to /service-worker.js
    server.get(
      "/service-worker.js",
      express.static(path.join(__dirname, ".next"))
    );

    // all other requests
    server.get("*", (req, res) => {
      return handle(req, res);
    });
    server.listen(3000, (err) => {
      if (err) throw err;
      console.log("> Ready on http://localhost:3000");
    });
  })
  .catch((ex) => {
    console.error(ex.stack);
    process.exit(1);
  });

This tells the server to fetch /service-worker.js from .next and let all other requests be handled by Nextjs itself.

Add a scripts command to package.json file:

"scripts":{
  "server": "yarn build && NODE_ENV=production node server.js",
}

like this.

Note:

The Service worker will be enabled only on production mode and not in development mode.

Check your service worker

Run in terminal:

yarn server

Go to localhost:3000.

Go to Devtools > Application tab > Service Worker.

Service Worker

You can see that our service worker is now activated and running.

Check PWA with Lighthouse

Go to Devtools > Lighthouse tab (or Audit tab) > Generate Report.

Generate Report

progressive Web Application

We made our Nextjs app into a progressive web application 😃🎊.

Github Repo of this code

Feel free to share if you found this useful.

Share on: Facebook Twitter