Famo.us talks big, but jQuery Foundation isn't worried

The cool Web and mobile library has high expectations but may be biting off more than it can chew

Famo.us has bold plans to reinvent mobile Web apps with its library of native-like tools for Web and mobile developers that InfoWorld has praised. The company wants to replace critical components of the Web, including jQuery widgets and Bootstrap mobile application templates, with its own open source framework.

Its newest target is 3D display. Famo.us wants to replace the jQuery Carousel photo display widget with a Famo.us physics engine and 3D rendering engine (now under development) for better, more flexible animation.

Displacing jQuery and Bootstrap will be hard, though. jQuery is reportedly used on half of all websites. Bootstrap, meanwhile, has been a prominent project on GitHub.

Famo.ous CEO Steve Newcomb has been talking big lately, fresh on the heels of getting a $25 million VC investment. "The worst-case scenario is Famo.us becomes the new jQuery -- a nonprofit with no business model," Newcomb says. "But the best-case scenario is we own the front end of the Web completely. Either way, we revitalize the entire front end of the Web."

But can Famo.us live up to Newcomb's big talk? After all, Famo.us had promised to duel with Adobe PhoneGap, the popular cross-platform mobile application development system. But now, Famo.us is partnering with Adobe instead.

Adam Sontag is skeptical of Famo.us's goals. "In the open Web, anything could theoretically come to replace and/or complement anything else. However, with more than 75 percent of the top 10,000 websites using jQuery, thousands of folks using jQuery every day, and a long tail of websites and applications with a jQuery dependency, we can't foresee Famo.us fully displacing jQuery," says Sontag, one of the leaders of the jQuery Foundation that oversees jQuery. "It seems to us their stated intention of doing so is an attention-grabbing, but not unfamiliar, method for marketing Famo.us."

Famo.us's ambitions also draw scepticism from IDC analyst Al Hilwa, who nonetheless admires Famo.us's technology. Displacing jQuery will not be easy, he said. Still, "the Famo.us technology is really cool, and they really have something there."

This story, "Famo.us talks big, but jQuery Foundation isn't worried," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Get the first word on what the important tech news really means with the InfoWorld Tech Watch blog. For the latest developments in business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.

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