Developing cross-platform apps can be a daunting task; with the amount of equipment and testing required for both iPhone and Android, it can be an expensive venture as well. We’ve come up with this handy list of the best mobile frameworks to help you decide on the next cross-platform framework you’d like to use for an upcoming project!
One of the older development frameworks out there, Sencha Touch is no slouch when it comes to mobile development frameworks. It’s huge and expansive (though not bloated- it performs as fast or faster than some of the other frameworks out there) which means that it’s going to have functions and libraries for darn near everything and everyone, something that can come in handy when quick-developing apps or choosing a framework to roll out multiple apps on. Notably, it also doesn’t simply extend HTML5 functionality: it creates its own DOM based on JS objects, which means it feels a bit more program-y than other web applications frameworks (and also makes it rather unique, unlike jQuery Mobile and other HTML5-enhancing frameworks).
Truth be told, there’s not much to say that’s bad about Sencha: the framework is extensive, and it’s mature enough that it’s sleek, runs well, and it’s easy to use. I have not had to ask for support, though there are reports that the developer forums respond well to questions, and Sencha offers paid support at $300 a year. It may be overkill if you’re designing a small app, but even then it’s well worth a look!
DHTMLX Touch Framework
Another impressive offering, the DHTMLX Touch framework also offers a very full-featured framework that allows developers to write fluid cross-platform apps. Much of the functionality that anyone might want is included here; from top-layer UI elements to under-the-hood functionality like global data storage and local caching, the framework is full-featured and fairly intuitive. The apps it creates are quite impressive, and they have a set of sample demos that you can run on your phone via QR code on their website.
DHTMLX does not seem to have any major faults, though their “bookshelf” demo app was a little laggy at first on my Nexus One running Gingerbread. That could be chalked up to some sort of hiccup, however, as their other demos were smooth and, indeed, the bookshelf one did not show any noticeable lag after that initial stutter. Definitely worth a look for app-builders everywhere!
jQTouch is, of course, the known kid on the block, having been featured in several books by the time of this writing. It’s easy-to-use, extensively documented, and builds on HTML5 with widgets in order to create a smooth experience. It’s extensible, and its set of widgets and animations, though quite large, are modifiable with just enough control in order to tweak an app to look or act just the way you want it to.
The only problem with jQTouch is its speed: while you can create great-looking apps with it, quite often they require some tweaking to get them up to the speed of the other frameworks (DHTMLX and Sencha both smoke jQTouch, generally, in terms of speed). The framework is still very reliable and well-documented, however, making it a good base point for cross-platform app development.
One of the newer mobile frameworks, jQuery Mobile has nevertheless turned some heads in the mobile framework area due to its astonishingly rapid development (and the fact that this speed did not sacrifice quality). jQuery Mobile very much resembles jQTouch in form and ideology, and anyone familiar with jQTouch should have no problem adapting their style to jQuery Mobile. The two are similar enough, in fact, that even design styles and ideologies should carry over from one to the other.
jQuery Mobile is also quite fast: though it’s only on 1.0.1, it’s already a bit faster than jQTouch. This youth, however, comes with its drawbacks: the documentation is, as one might expect, a bit sparser than any of the other frameworks on this list, and it’s not quite as extensive as the others either. Despite this, development is rapidly progressing on it; combined with wider adoption, I expect that this framework will be a force to reckon with soon, and definitely belongs on your app development radar!
I hope this list has helped you make a decision on a mobile framework for your next project. If mobile framework is only a part of your bigger solution involving Android OS, consider getting Android training from LearnComputer. You will love our hands-on bootcamp style courses!