Exceptional Javascript Frameworks For Mobile App Developers

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Today, the mobile application development is a hot sector and there are several JavaScript Frameworks available that a developer can take help of, to create engaging mobile apps. A mobile developer can find a JavaScript Framework truly helpful in building an app with exceptional features.
However, it is important to choose the right framework for a specific application development that can meet the requirements of a developer more precisely.

Here, we are presenting a list of popular JavaScript Frameworks, with their features and unique properties, helping developers to choose the best framework for their mobile app development.

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1. JQuery Mobile:

Jquery-mobile-logo

JQuery is a popular framework building mobile apps that can easily be accessed through a variety of devices, including touch-enabled devices. It is easy to integrate with third-party technologies and this expands its application area.

With HTML5 and CSS3, a developer can easily achieve custom-made user interface for his/her mobile application. The latest version of JQuery features a lightweight code base, which help optimize the speed.

Pros:

  1. Easy to develop, if you understand HTML(HTML5) you will have pretty good understanding of jQuery Mobile
  2. Excellent 3rd party support, what through knowledge what through plugins
  3. Easy to debug
  4. Better for mobile web applications
  5. Official documentation

Cons:

  1. Sometimes slow and sluggish on mobile devices, application needs to be designed properly
  2. Dull look unless you are capable UI designer. All applications look the same, and it looks pretty bad on large screens
  3. Official documentation is lacking in some segments, too few information about jQuery Mobile architecture and JavaScript

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2. Appcelerator Titanium:

Appcelerator-Titanium-Development

This open-source platform is more popular for developing cross-platform native apps. One can easily learn the framework to quickly build apps to be run on different platforms.

With a basic web development skill, one can build scalable apps, based on the MVC pattern. The framework allows developers to take better advantage of the native functionality of a device and include custom features.

Pros:

  1. By using native UI components, we achieve a distinct performance win;
  2. The Alloy framework works to normalize the UI across platforms;
  3. By using JavaScript, in normalizing code cross-platform, you can leverage existing skills on multiple platforms;
  4. Added value is realized being that Appcelerator provides items such as App Analytics and Backend-as-a-Service (BaaS);
  5. Titanium is free, as well as open-source.

Cons:

  1. Developers must manage platform SDKs locally; it’s recommended that you maintain a controlled build environment – a continuous integration (CI) process – particularly when targeting multiple platforms.
  2. SDK- related issues, due to versions and build, can rob time that is always better-suited to the delivery of product and features.
  3. The normalization of the UI across platforms, generally viewed as a Pro, can be a Con that requires the team to train on proprietary technology, and these skills are not applicable outside Titanium.

3. Backbone.jsbackbone-js

As one of the oldest of the JavaScript frameworks in this review, Backbone has lost much of its initial buzz, but that shouldn’t dissuade you from giving it serious consideration.

First released in 2010 by Jeremy Ashkenas, Backbone is lightweight. Coming in at just 6.3KB when minified and compressed for production and with only one dependency (Underscore.js), it’s a highly versatile and minimalistic MVC (Model-View-Controller) framework that powers a lot of sites you may be familiar with: Twitter, Hulu, Pinterest and my personal favorite, Pandora Radio.

Pros:

1. Highly flexible. You can choose not to implement some features (e.g Controller) based on your requirement.
2. It is tightly integrated with underscore.js which is great.
3. Initially you have to write more JavaScript code but it’s very easy to implement complex user interaction.

Cons:

1.Designed more towards consuming REST data.
2. More complex initially if compared to knockout.js.

4. PhoneGap

phonegap-logo

PhoneGap development is essentially based on Cordova. Cordova/Phonegap provides a set JavaScript APIs that connect to the device’s native functions such as Camera, Compass, Contacts, and Geolocation. Cordova/Phonegap lets us build a mobile application without the native programming language; instead we can use a framework like jQuery Mobile. It will compile your app using the platform’s SDK and will be ready to install on the platform it supports including iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Blackberry and Web OS.

Pros:

1. No need to learn other complicated languages to create mobile apps. All you should know is JavaScript, HTML5 and CSS3.
2. All the PhoneGap apps can be installed much like a native app, and are able to leverage app store discoverability.
3. It follows a plug-in architecture, which indirectly means that access to the native device APIs can be extended in a modular way.
4. Using PhoneGap would enable you to distribute and integrate payment through the app store.
5. Leverage from tons of libraries.

Cons:

1.If your mobile app includes too many graphic elements, performance could be a big issue.
2. Not so clear information and directions for user-interface and other best practices to make the app better.
3. Documentation is also not so descriptive and at times also lack crucial information required for the development.

5. Sencha Touch:

Sencha Touch logo

Sencha Touch is a mobile framework powered by HTML5 and CSS3, providing APIs, animations, and components that are compatible with the current mobile platforms and browsers. Sencha Touch supports both Cordova and PhoneGap; you can compile your app, and submit your app to the respective platform’s App Stores.

In addition, Sencha Touch provides a set of themes for iOS, Android, Blackberry, Windows Phone, Tizen, and a variety of other platforms to help your app feel like a native app.

Pros

1. Sencha have produced a larger quite of interoperable products, from “Sencha Architect” (a visual HTML5 app builder) and “Sencha Touch Charts” (for data visualization) to IDE integration with the Sencha Eclipse Plugin and an secure Enterprise app deployment story with Sencha Space.
2. Sencha Touch offers an MVC style architecture, a library of UI components, an extensible API and UI themes among other features.
3. Native packaging is possible via Apache Cordova/PhoneGap or Sencha’s SDK.

Cons

1. Mobile apps written with Sencha Touch can suffer from the same performance pains as Cordova/PhoneGap apps if developers aren’t disciplined in writing efficient JavaScript and DOM structure(s).
2. Many developers already have established opinions and experience with preferred frameworks for building HTML5/JavaScript/CSS based apps. Sencha’s emphasis on its own stack will be perceived as vendor lock-in.
3. Extending a Sencha Touch app with access to additional native APIs will likely involve writing custom Apache Cordova/PhoneGap plugins. This will require specialized platform skills (or training to acquire them).

6. Knockout.js


Knockout_logo

Released in 2010 by Steve Sanderson, a member of the Microsoft ASP.NET team, Knockout is another framework from the MVW paradigm. It works with any server-side technology. It is argued as one of the simplest frameworks out today and also one of the smallest. Steve describes the framework as “low risk” since it is easily compatible with other frameworks.

Whilst not as widespread as Angular, Knockout has significant traction, and is used by websites such as Azure, BMW, JSfiddle and AMC Theatres.

Pros:

1.The documentation for Knockout is arguably one of the best out there. It has an interactive tutorial system, live examples and is generally very comprehensive.
2. Knockout is very flexible and thus can be used with any other technology. This gives developers plenty of room to make their own decisions.
3. Knockout is one of the only existing frameworks that support IE6 users.
Testing wise, Knockout is also easy to test using popular JavaScript testing tools such as Jasmine.

Cons:

1. Knockout only provides support for two-way data binding, therefore doing a UI refresh whenever data changes. It doesn’t provide any tools for data-access and routing. Angular or Ember would be a better alternative in this case.

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Andrew Johnson

Andrew Johnson is founder of BestPSDtoHTML. He loves creative designs, photography, paintings and everything about innovation. As an Internet entrepreneur, he constantly tries to develop new ways to bring content faster and closer to the end users in a more streamlined way. His main focus lies in inspiring all the designers and developers with all new ideas through his blogs.

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