Monday 30 April 2012

Mobile Framework Showdown

I recently got a new project to work on, and thought it was time to step back and re-evaluate the lay of the land for mobile app development.
I offered both native and mobile cross-platform approaches to the client and they requested the latter. (I think that many businesses with smaller budgets will be making the same choice, sacrificing a little usability and responsiveness for flexibility and economy. After all, they want the biggest bang for their buck.)
The landscape is changing really fast, and so it's always a good idea to stick your head up now and again to survey the landscape.
My current assessment is that, although there are many emerging solutions for developing mobile apps with web technologies, there are three frameworks which seem to have gained significant adoption. And the interesting thing is that each embodies a significantly different approach. Here are my top three picks:
  • jQuery Mobile
  • Sencha Touch
  • Titanium Appcelerator
 What are different approaches?
  • jQuery Mobile: HTML5 defined views, and CSS provided styles with JavaScript code behind
  • Sencha Touch: Pure Javascript defined views and code implementation producing proprietary HTML5 & CSS
  • Titanium Appcelerator: Javascript code written by you is cross-compiled into native code. (Runs as Objective C on iOS, Java app on Android.)
It would be easy to assume that these three frameworks were three variants of making the same meal. A more appropriate metaphor is that there are three very different ways of using the same ingredients to create similar, but fundamentally different tasting meals.

Monday 2 April 2012