7 Exceptional JavaScript Frameworks for Mobile App Developers

DZone 's Guide to

7 Exceptional JavaScript Frameworks for Mobile App Developers

· Mobile Zone ·
Free Resource

There are plenty of JavaScript frameworks available for developers to build mobile apps. These frameworks make the job of developers easier by offering lots of functions and reducing working hours by leaps and bounds.

But at times the large number of options means it can get confusing for developers to zero in on the right framework that perfectly suits their needs and requirements. If a developer takes the route of asking peer developers in mobile development and programming forums for suggestions regarding the framework they should use for crafting a mobile app, every developer may give a different suggestion based on his likes and dislikes.

In this article, we try and make the job of developers a bit simpler by taking them through a list of 7 well-known JavaScript frameworks for mobile app development:

1.  jQuery Mobile

It is one of the most popular free Web frameworks as it helps developers rapidly develop apps that are accessible on all mobile-devices and touch-enabled devices – be it a 5 inch smartphone or a 9 inch tablet. It uses HTML5 & CSS3 to develop mobile app user interfaces. This framework offers great UI across mobile platforms like iOS, Android, Blackberry, WebOS, Symbian, Windows Phone and more.

jQuery Mobile Framework is easy to integrate with 3rd party/other technologies. It even allows developers to create custom themes.

The new version of jQuery Mobile is much faster than previous versions. It boasts a lightweight code base, which optimizes speed.

For newbie developers, jQuery Mobile is easy to learn as it is built on core jQuery. Besides, the official documentation is also comprehensive.

2.  Appcelerator Titanium

It is a popular open-source JavaScript framework to develop native cross-platform apps. According to a report published in Business Insider, during Feb 2013, around 10% of all smartphones worldwide ran Titanium-built apps. Developers with basic web development skills can build rich mobile apps easily with this framework as they are not required to manage multiple developer toolkits, languages and methodologies.

Unlike jQuery Mobile, this framework works on the popular MVC model. MVC pattern helps developers create agile and scalable applications quickly; developers can easily integrate table views, tabs, switches and popovers. It even includes features that let developers interact with the native functionality of the device like camera and native file storage system. It has large active community support that lets developers get a lot of help and support from peer developers.

3.  Sencha Touch

This is another framework that is extremely popular amongst developers, especially experienced developers. It is the first HTML5 framework for smartphones and tablets.

It provides various features that make it developer-friendly like providing a set of themes for different mobile platforms, following popular MVC software architecture pattern, offering rich UI and extensive data package, and many more. It uses HTML5 and CSS3 for developing view controllers. The latest version offers increased speed, making it one of the fastest mobile application frameworks.

One of its biggest benefits is the commercial IDE that includes full-featured widget library. This framework is pure JavaScript. It is also a highly usable framework for game development.

Sencha Touch has free license for development and paid license for SDK. The documentation of this framework includes conceptual overviews, as well as, step-by-step procedures.

4.  DHTMLX Touch

This is another solid JavaScript framework that is optimized for touchscreen devices to help developers craft robust mobile applications that run on iOS, Android and other mobile platforms. This framework requires minimal scripting, which is a huge selling point for many developers. Additionally, it offers an easy and intuitive way for developers to build mobile apps.

This high-performance HTML5 framework includes a wide variety of UI components like charts, dataview, calendar, lists, forms, video, carousel and other components. One of the features that makes it really attractive is it allows data storage on client side (offline storage). It also supports event handling like click event, keyboard event and touch events.

Since the user interface is easy to use, great looking mobile apps can be crafted fairly quickly.

5.  Enyo

Enyo is a free object-oriented cross-device application framework that uses JavaScript and HTML5 to build mobile apps on various platforms like iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Blackberry and more.

This framework was initially developed by Palm, which was later acquired by HP. It was originally launched to create applications for HP TouchPad which ran the mobile operating system WebOS version 3.0. A version released in October 2013 provides developers with an MVC-based architecture for convenient application development.

Its latest version offers various features like internationalization, localization and more – a welcome plus for many developers!

LG Smart TV apps are one of the more successful and popular projects that have been built with Enyo.

6.  PhoneGap

This framework was originally purchased by Nitobi, and later purchased by Adobe Systems in 2011.

This straight-forward framework has a WSYIWYG IDE, is open-sourced, free and has built in emulation. It is used to build native hybrid apps for multiple platforms and is basically based on Cordova that utilizes the built-in JavaScript APIs to connect to device native functions like Camera, Contacts and Geolocation.

It generates and toggles between UI and JavaScript code. Since PhoneGap is just an app wrapper, it is not difficult for developers to master it.

Important tip: If you create a PhoneGap app using vanilla JavaScript and your own GUI then that app will be much faster than an app created with PhoneGap and jQueryMobile. It will be even faster than a Sencha Touch app.

7.  Zepto.js

Zepto.js is a jQuery compatible, open-source JavaScript framework for mobile apps that was specifically built for mobile WebKit browsers like Safari and Chrome. Zepto.js has a lightweight codebase (only 5KB).

If developers know jQuery, it is easy to learn Zepto. The familiar API lets developers concentrate on crafting apps faster. This framework lets developers create apps faster than apps developed with jQuery Mobile. The architecture of this framework is similar to that of jQuery. However, it is designed to be simpler and smoother when compared with the latter.

One of the biggest benefits of using this framework is it can easily be replaced with larger libraries when your application grows.

Hopefully, the pointers in this article will be a solid starting point for deciding which framework to use for mobile app development. Pick the one that best suits your requirement.

Which other frameworks would you recommend for developers? Do tell us in the comments section?

android, application development, ios, java, javascript, mobile, mobile apps, software development, web design

Opinions expressed by DZone contributors are their own.

{{ parent.title || parent.header.title}}

{{ parent.tldr }}

{{ parent.urlSource.name }}