Framework mobile application development

JuniorLast week I wrote an article where I discussed the difference between jQuery Mobile and Sencha Touch. While my previously mentioned article stands on it own I have neglected other available frameworks. Before I continue let me give you a warning. This article will discuss HTML5 frameworks use for hybrid mobile applications. I am not going to talk about front-end frameworks like Bootstrap, this is not the point of this article. Back to topic, admit it or not, jQuery Mobile and Sencha Touch are not center of the mobile world, the truth is far far from it. Mobile market is huge and so is the need for adequate HTML5 frameworks. The main reason for this article is that every single framework I am going to discuss has a completely different approach to architecture and development. Even more, some of them are created for a specific purpose and some are made to be all around Jack of all trades. Few of them don’t require special native wrapper software but most of them do. For those who don’t know, Hybrid App is a combination of native app and mobile web app concepts. Typically the native code is provided by a wrapper framework (like Phonegap) which bridges a gap between native side and a JavaScript API so that the app’s JavaScript code can perform native functions such as taking a picture with the camera. Unlike a classic mobile web app’s, which store source files on a server, hybrid mobile apps store HTML, JavaScript, and CSS files locally (while in same cases it can still be used from a server side) so no Internet access is required. I will try to be as much objective as I can. Let me be transparent first, I am a jQuery Mobile and Sencha Touch developer. I have spent a lot of time playing with available frameworks before I chose those two. This doesn’t mean other frameworks are bad or inadequate, as you will see, my decision was hard and it took time. All of them are great but as Rolling Stones sang “You can’t always get what you want”. Before I start take a look at a list of my chosen 7 in alphabetical order:

Junior1. Intel App Framework – ex jQMoby

This framework is a sleepy beauty. Extremely fast, just like Sencha Touch, this framework is optimized for Android and iOS platform.

Pro

  • Fast and reliable, probably one of a fastest frameworks of this kind along, outperformed only by Sencha Touch
  • Small and light
  • HTML based, javascript is used to enhance HTML
  • Excellent native wrapper solution, there’s no need to use Phonegap
  • Has MVC support, external MVC framework that can be also used stand alone.

Con

  • Horrible documentation, mostly compared to other frameworks
  • Limited browser support, which is not that bad, but limits desktop usage.
  • Not made on classic jQuery what ever it old name states. Personally I don’t like misinformation usage to attract developers. This framework is a rewrite Of the JQuery Framework. This may sound good until you find out that some things are missing or not done as expected.
  • It could use better UI, but nothing prevents you from customization. Redesigned in version 2.0 with native themes.

Author notes

If they ever improved its documentation I would probably switch to this framework. I have already discuss this topic in my other . All in all this is a framework worth of a consideration.

Additional info

This is most commonly used mobile application HTML5 framework. But don’t let this fool you. It doesn’t mean it is the best solution, most of its publicity comes from it older brother jQuery.
  • Most commonly use, which means a lot of 3rd party information
  • Extremely easy to use, HTML bases, just like App Framework
  • Good official documentation, it could be better, according to some information jQM developers are working on making it better.
  • Support every HTML5 browser you can think which makes it good for a desktop and mobile use
  • Excellent theme support
  • Large number of 3rd party plugins
  • Sluggish on mobile devices, it is not optimized like App Framework or Sencha Touch
  • Average UI, as time passes I hate it more and more, but it can be easily fixed with custom CSS. Without customization every app looks like an clone. iOS GUI look which don’t look good on non iOS platforms.
  • Official documentation is lacking some information, mainly how jQuery Mobile architecture works. While every single component is described in details you will need to brake you head to understood how all of that works together.
  • No out of box MVC support. At the same time is supports Backbone.js and Knockout.js, with some limitations.
  • Sluggish even more when combined with a Phonegap, you really need to have a good understanding of to make it work correctly and fast. But if developers don’t change anything soon it will never be fast as App Framework or Sencha Touch.

Author notes

Currently my favorite framework, mostly because I am a sucker for a jQuery.

Reading Material

A lot of books are written on jQuery Mobile topic, unfortunately only few are worth mentioning. A In any point I will not recommend books I don’t own.
Junior Junior

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Q&A

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Developing mobile device applications on the .Net Framework?

Is it possible to develop mobile device applications on the dotnet framework just like we develop them for iPhone on the Cocoa Framework for Apple Macintosh.
Could someone refer me a nice tutorial on this topic.Thanks

Yes you can, there is a Mobile Device SDK on the Microsoft site that you can download and will add Mobile devices into .Net. There are also device emulators for the different flavors of Windows Mobile so you can test deploy the apps virtually on your machine with a little emulated WM device.