First look: Famo.us remakes mobile app development
The Famo.us mobile Web framework runs faster than standard HTML and takes less development time than native code -- once you get up to speed
I like to see sites and apps that serve layouts and graphics appropriate to the detected devices. For example, an iPad held in landscape mode might show three columns, whereas an iPhone held in portrait mode might show one column, with the other columns available as alternate tabs or via a swipe gesture. Similarly, differently sized graphics fit differently sized devices. At the least, the app should be able to automatically apply size transforms to master graphics to match the current device resolution.
People are already wrapping Famo.us mobile Web apps in PhoneGap and Apache Cordova to make hybrid apps. Famo.us has plans to introduce its own fork of Apache Cordova, which will use the latest Chrome engine instead of the older, slower, native WebView installed on Android phones. The cloud-based builders for the resulting Famo.us hybrid apps might well require a subscription from developers, similar to what Adobe does with PhoneGap Build.
Should you be Famo.us?
One of the outside groups working at Famo.us when I was there was finishing up an iPhone app called Plugg (Figure 3), which is a social music-streaming app. According to Sander Frans, CEO and founder, the developers of Plugg tried to implement the UI in HTML5 but could never get the pizzazz the designer wanted. Writing in pure native iOS code would have taken at least six months, and it would have left them needing to start over for Android. Implementing Plugg mostly in Famo.us took a couple of months, and it won't take too long to port to Android because only the native code will need to be rewritten.
The Plugg developers were working in parallel with the Famo.us developers prior to the Famo.us launch, so they had to periodically revise their app as the framework changed. That's a hardship typical of developing with an unlaunched framework, but you could argue that the time needed to develop an app like Plugg would be shorter now that Famo.us is on an actual release cycle.
|Platforms||Android and iOS browsers|
|Cost||Free and open source under the Mozilla Public License 2.0; future paid services are planned|