Top 7 notable less known mobile HTML5 frameworks

Written by on April 8, 2015

Top 7 notable less known mobile HTML5 frameworks

[frame align=”center”]Phone.JS[/frame]

Link: http://phonejs.devexpress.com/

Price: Free / Commercial

Mobile platforms supported: iOS, Android and Windows Phone

PhoneJS is another jQuery based mobile framework that proves jQuery is more than capable of running in the background. It can support MVVM combined with Knockout (I usually don’t like different framework combinations, but int his case it works fine, mainly because it was created with Knockout in mind).

It provides a real native look and feel with themes created to mimic iOS, Android, and Windows Mobile. They look same or even better (in case of the Android theme) then Kendo UI themes but that’s just a subjective observation. Code syntax is very similar to jQuery Mobile and Kendo UI, HTML markup mixed with jQuery and Knockout.

Pro

  • Easy syntax – jQuery Mobile / Kendo UI like
  • Fast thou not faster the Sencha Touch or KnockoutJS
  • MVVM support in combination with Kendo UI
  • Fuck*** great documentation, even better then Sencha Touch one
  • Best native looking themes so far, Kendo UI is really close

Con

  • Price but only so I can object over something
  • Phonegap is used as an app wrapper, to me this is a limiting factor

Author notes

Through time, I fell in love with this framework. It should be viewed in the same light as Kendo UI. Both frameworks are excellent and fast, the use similar syntax, has similar MVVM support, almost same price. If you are willing to pay for mobile HTML 5 framework you should toss the coin and decide between this framework and Kendo UI.

Fuck*** awesome documentation and examples, I can’t stress it enough.

Additional info

Lungo.JS

Link: http://lungo.tapquo.com

Price: Free

Mobile platforms supported: iOS, Android, Blackberry and WebOs

Lungo is not a newcomer in HTML5 mobile fields. It was made few years ago at the time when other frameworks of that time were not powerful enough to take most of what HTML5 can offer. It structure is similar to jQuery Mobile where HTML is a driving point and CSS/Javascript is used to improve it. It looks beautiful on every tested device, I am even grateful it’s not trying to mimic native mobile look (iOS or Android) thus making it great for a heavy customization.

Pro

  • Fast native execution, even with complex UI
  • Good looking, ready for easy customization
  • Easy to master, just like jQuery Mobile
  • It’s not jQuery based, just for the sake of diversity

Con

  • Documentation is rather slim, it simply requires better one
  • Does not stand out among the competition

Lungo should be considered one of a better HTML5 mobile frameworks. It is easy to master and learn. Unfortunately, it does not stand out among the competition. Thou I would highly recommend it for apps not trying to look native-like, it is simply extremely easy to modify and customize.

Additional info

Trigger.IO

Link: https://trigger.io/

Price: Free trial / Commercial

Mobile platforms supported: iOS, Android

Trigger.IO is another special case, mainly it is not an HTML5 framework. So why put it here? Because like Phonegap we can use it to create hybrid mobile applications. You can use any framework you want, create anything you need and almost instantly deploy it as a native app. It is simply a PhoneGap on steroids. It provides much more then PhoneGap …. for a price. Here comes a bad part, it is not cheap … by a long shot.

Pro

  • Easy to use
  • Slightly faster then Phonegap and more stable
  • It works with everything you can think off
  • Larger native support then Phonegap
  • It can create native UI components, just like Phonegap

Con

  • Expensive Expensive Expensive
  • Expensive Expensive
  • Expensive
  • .
  • Still expensive

I must protest here, skip this part if you don’t like subjective comments. Trigger.IO is great but man it cost damn too much. I really don’t understand why would anyone pay that much for a glorified variation of Phonegap (and I hate Phonegap). It will not make any HTML5 mobile framework run faster, it will only give them a larger support for native functionalities. Each pricing range has a limited number of supported apps. If you take into the account that only small percent of app store applications are earning money that alone lowers the value of this system. Trigger.IO is a tax for lazy mobile developers.

The objective comment would go like this: “Excellent (better) alternative to PhoneGap, unfortunately, too pricey”.

Additional info

[vimeo url=”http://vimeo.com/40698019″]

Who Am I?

Between working as a senior Java developer in one of the largest insurance companies in the world and traveling, in my free time, I work as a professional mobile development adviser. I'm also a major jQuery Mobile supporter back at StackOverflow and a forum moderator at the official Ionic Framework forum.



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13 thoughts on “Top 7 notable less known mobile HTML5 frameworks”

  1. Hi, nice one…I have an app that I made with Jquery mobile + phonegap. Its a bit slow and I was wondering what the next framework I should try in the hope of making the app faster. Sencha touch vs Lungo or may be something else. Only the app being fast and easy transition from jquery mobile matters. Please advice.
    Cheers

    • If money is not an obstacle or if you are creating a non-commercial app then this would be my top 3:

      1. Kendo UI (best solution if you have an experience with jQuery)
      2. Sencha Touch (best overall speed, but it takes a lot of time to master)
      3. PhoneJS (extremely similar to Kendo UI)

      If you need a open source solution then I would advise you:

      Intel App Framework (extremely fast but documentation is rather bad, useful but it takes time to understand)

  2. Dear Dragan,
    your articles are simply outstanding. Incredibly well written stuff.

    By the way, have you tried Icenium or Application Craft?
    If so, what do you think of these?

    I’ve built most of my mobile Apps on the latter platform and aside from speed issues (as is the case with most non-native Apps),
    the learning curve and final outcome are simply more than satisfactory.

    Regards

  3. We chose Sencha Touch but the learning curve until now is steep. I have extensive experience with javascript but I have got used into seeing HTML as well. I was thinking about the Ionic framework which use angularjs and seems easy but the managers will not probably like the fact no one is using it yet. Have you tried Ionic? Would you suggest it for a professional app?

  4. Nice write up – I would value your opinion on two items (regarding the 7 known and 7 lesser known frameworks)

    1) What if you do not want to bundle your HTML5 into a downloadable app and just have a online website – do the standing still say the same or are you assuming you want to make an installable app.

    2) What if you want to style/theme your website to your own look and feel regardless of device – which is best. It seems like you give greater value to frameworks which UI’s match their native OS. But I would of thought most sites (not apps) want their own personalised style anyway.

    • 1) Thing will considerably change in case you want to have classic online web site. It will require less time to implement and you wouldn’t need to worry about mobile app performances. Classic web site usually loads faster then web site build into a installable app.

      2) Frameworks usually come with a skin prepared for desktop browsers so you don’t need to worry about it. Regarding my preference to frameworks which have native OS UI look a like is because my blog was intended to cover everything regarded hybrid mobile development. My personal advice would be to skip mentioned frameworks and to create your mobile site with Boostrap framework (ex Twitter Boostrap). Unlike mentioned frameworks this one is intended for desktop mobile and desktop browsers, where previously mentioned ones usually work correctly only on mobile browsers (for example, jQuery Mobile looks extremely bad on large desktop resolutions).

      I hope I answered all of your questions. Feel free to ask if you want to know anything else.

  5. Hello,

    Nice Article.

    But have what do you think of : Application Craft as an HTML5 Mobile Apps Development Platform.

  6. I wonder why DevExpress / DevExtreme Mobile does not get much attention in the market or developer community, since it seems to be quite stable and already 4 years old. I am coming from a Java world and did a lot of native Android development, now looking more into hybrid frameworks, having to decide between Ionic or DevExtreme. Any thoughts about DevExtreme anybody? http://js.devexpress.com/MobileDevelopment/

    • At one point I used to advise my readers to take a look at PhoneJS (now DevExpress). At one point it was better then Kendo UI (I’m comparing it only to commercial products), I think it still is but they offer only “Free Trial”. Where Kendo UI offers free and commercial version. This way it’s only alluring to some companies and individuals.

      DevExpress most promissing advantages are available services and support. On the other hand Ionic Framework offers a large community while provided services are also on the same level to DevExpress.

      Personally, I would choose DevExpress if dedicated support is my main concern. In any other case I would choose Ionic Framework, though I would also like to recommend Onsen UI 2.0. It’s little bit better then Ionic Framework. It has a smaller community but at the same tile its JavaScript agnostic. You can use any JS framework you like.

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