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Create native feeling mobile apps with JavaScript

Tuesday, April 12th, 2011 by Servage

I find it rather frustrating that numerous modern platforms use an increasing amount of different systems. Not long ago we had major platforms such as Unix and Windows to take care of, but today we are working with consumers on a plethora of platforms. There are not only different browsers in different operating systems, but also native app developers face decisions to develop for Windows, Mac OS, Linux, iOs, Android, WebOS etc. Some platforms have bigger market shares than others, but I feel it’s bad practice to exclude potential customers based on their platform of choice, merely because we are unable or don’t have time to develop for their operating system. On the other hand I hate to do the same things over and over again. Developing the same application for multiple platforms is violating my idea of proper programming, were you focus on one product, one development. Therefore I have a hard time coming to peace with the new mobile devices powered by iOS and Android. While the devices offer great new possibilities for consumers, they make life harder to developers.

Fortunately there is help to get, since there are many people out there with the same philosophy as myself. I am a web-technology person, so my enthusiasm and skills are focused around modern web technologies, such as HTML5, CSS3 and JavaScript. With some customization such apps can be deployed to users with different browsers on different platforms rather easy, especially compared to native app development. However, users are lazy, and expect the same high quality experience from all their apps, for example of their iPhone. So a web app based on a website, which isn’t as fast, responsive and cool looking like other apps on their platform, will quickly be discarded. This is also valid for navigation and effects, such as accelerated scroll for example.

I’ve recently started to check out Sencha Touch, which is a framework that allows you to stay within the sphere of web development, using HTML5, CSS3 and JavaScript, but gives you a lot of functionality similar to native applications on mobile devices. Basically you can develop one application with the technologies you are good at, and still produce a product that comes very close to the native app experience on iOS and Android devices.

Check it out on www.sencha.com/products/touch

Create native feeling mobile apps with JavaScript, 4.0 out of 5 based on 4 ratings
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1 comment (leave a comment)

An alternative to Sencha Touch, if you don’t like it, would be Jquery Mobile. Still in Alpha version, the first release should come soon.
http://jquerymobile.com/

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