How we built a Progressive Web App for Tinder

Four months. Four STRV developers. One tall order from the world’s largest dating app.

No problem.

The challenge: Tinder had tackled iOS, Android, Apple TV — in collaboration with STRV — and now had its sights set on web domination.

This was where we came in.

A year after STRV helped Tinder launch its Apple TV app, we hooked up with the online dating behemoth again to widen its already vast user base with progressive web.

A team of our React experts were brought in to work alongside Tinder developers at their plush LA offices. The company wanted an internal release within four months, with a global launch to follow soon after.

“We flew to California on a Monday and started working on the project that Thursday,” recalled Danny Kijkov, who lead the project from STRV’s side.

“The original idea was to improve the download rate of the app,” Danny said. “But shortly into the development process, Tinder realized that web has much better potential for attracting more users, and we started building chat and profile settings and more and more screens.”

Our team was proactive. They’d get specs and immediately start bouncing ideas around. Tinder apps were already used across the globe, boasting 1.6 billion swipes per day and 20 billion total matches. The company was now looking to attract more users in countries with poor Internet connections.

The perfect solution was obvious.

“We were the ones who first suggested making Tinder Online a progressive web app. Anyone can use a PWA regardless of their browser choice. These apps also work offline, making them ideal for countries Tinder was targeting,” Danny said.

Tinder gave our team the greenlight and a lot of free rein to develop its PWA from the ground up the way we thought best.

“Tinder’s dev team really trusted us; it really felt like we were on the same page,” said Adam Vresky, one of our senior full-stack developers. “Building a PWA from scratch in such a short amount of time was challenging at times, but the whole experience was super rewarding and to have Tinder Online gushed over by Addy Osmani at Google I/O 2017 was awesome!”

The tech stack was pretty standard for a frontend app. We built Tinder Online using React and Redux. The challenges centered around how to preserve the functionality users love, while creating a lightweight, feature-heavy web app that works offline — the signature features of PWAs.

The team faced obstacles over how to optimize localizations. They had to find a way to deal with both vertical and horizontal scrolling and how to handle message overload, as some users accumulate thousands of exchanges in their inboxes.

We easily found solutions around each one of these issues.

“There was actually a lot of ideas coming from our side, and what was great was that the Tinder team was listening to us a lot. All of our ideas were heard, and we were eventually able to implement them,” said Danny. “I would say that was the best cooperation you could ever imagine.”

“If you as a developer are being heard, it’s amazing; you know you are involved in the whole process,” Danny added. “We were not just the monkeys who were doing the tasks, but we were involved with forming the vision.”

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STRV is a software design & engineering company. Our job is to unlock new opportunities by leveraging the latest technologies and the bravest people for clients of all shapes and sizes.

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