Websites like native apps
The results from these four solutions have much the same feel. All four are trying to emulate the collection of native widgets offered by the various platforms, so it's no surprise they end up producing similar results, at least for basic, static apps filled with pages, buttons, and text.
The differences lie underneath and appear when you start writing your app. If you prefer to write HTML and you think in HTML, then jQuery Mobile, App Framework, and Kendo UI are the better choices. All three of these will accept your app as a stack of DIVs, then parse and and lay them out appropriately. If your app is relatively static with a well-defined map of links between pages, this is a pretty simple way to program. You write HTML and it looks like Objective-C or Java, running natively.
I could have done the same with jQuery Mobile, but it would have been trickier. My code would have been responsible for parsing the data structure and creating the elements. It's not that hard to do, but it's nicer to leave it up to the app.
There may be an argument for using the more programmer-centric approach in case the world of HTML changes. If the local app is responsible for changing the JSON into the right mix of HTML, it can evolve and adapt to different platforms. It might use different sets of tags for the different mobile platforms. Or as time passes and new architectures and strategies emerge, the next generation of the local code can adopt them. Your JSON stays the same, but the approach can change.
The argument against this approach is that all of this processing takes some time. It has a cost in terms of memory and time even if it's just a megabyte or a millisecond. However, I haven't noticed any problems with my apps, which use big trees filled with data.
This article, "Review: Mobile Web development frameworks face off," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Follow the latest developments in application development and mobile technology at InfoWorld.com. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.
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