Samstag, 14. Januar 2012

Mobile (Web) Frameworks in 2012

As I want to do some more development in the mobility sector (that is, for Android in the first place, iPhone comes later, maybe ...) I tried to get an overview of the current status of mobile (web) frameworks in beginning of 2012.

Well, as it sounds that easy -- it really isn't. This seems to be a hot topic all over the place since these frameworks all try (with diferent techniques though) to provide a common interface (API for the techies) to get your application on as much platforms as possible.

This of course also has its drawbacks: While you then can develop your application in pure HTML5 / CSS using regular JavaScript (plus jQuery etc) you cannot access native device feature like the camera or the accelerometer.

If you go for the hybrid approach, that is using a framework which transforms your web application into a native application on Android or iOS, then you finally have access to (some) of the device specific features.

In general (at least for me) it was very hard to get a comprehensive overview of all these frameworks, toolkits and so on since it seems that every day there will be a new one which declares itself being "the ultimate solution (tm)".

Personally I'll give PhoneGap a try which does the hybrid approach mentioned above. With that there are toolkits like Sencha Touch, The M Project or jQuery Mobile which can be used to build your actual application. This especially is nice if you want to provde regular desktop support (for Firefox, Chrome etc) using some node.js server as well. Another nice feature about PhoneGap is that you can write native plugins (for Android that would be in using Java using the Android SDK) which then can be called from the app's JavaScript code. MIT license, nice.

There's another framework called Appcelerator Titanium which does similar things, also for the old-school desktops.

Also consider reading some nice blog articles like Natives are restless, Developers guide to mobile frameworks or several articles over at interfacethis.com.

Oh, and when you need a HTML5 boilerplate, there's a nice template generator over at initializr.com, or, if you need a more mobile approach, take a look at html5boilerplate.com/mobile.

Other (maybe not so well-known) frameworks worth checking out:
http://www.winktoolkit.org/
http://www.knockoutjs.com
http://angularjs.org/
http://www.nimblekit.com/ (iPhone only)



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