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Jumping JavaScript! Hands-on with the Famo.us framework

Martin Heller | May 2, 2014
Famo.us is an open source JavaScript framework for building high-performance mobile Web and hybrid mobile apps. The framework gets its speed and sizzle by replacing the browser's slow, DOM-based rendering mechanism with its own rendering engine and by tapping the GPU acceleration provided by CSS3's 3D transformation functions -- no plug-ins or native code required.

Demos

As of this writing, 15 demos are available from the Famo.us site. In all cases, you can play with the demo online and download the project zip file.

Hello, Famo.us?

Famo.us is currently being beta tested by some 5,000 developers, with rollout to 500 new beta testers each day. The company expects the beta to be fully open by May 19. Meanwhile, the Famo.us Docs (basically formatted comments from the framework) and Guides (actual tutorial material) are available to all. The installation instructions, Demos, and Famo.us University lessons, however, require a login password.

Famo.us promises significantly better performance than standard mobile websites, it's more flexible for UI development than HTML5, and it's easier for developers to use than native code. But as I hope you've seen from this walk-through, the framework currently looks and feels more like an animation or game system than a conventional Web toolkit.

The company plans to make the product much easier to learn and use in the future — even for designers who don't know JavaScript. But if you want to "be Famo.us" right now, you would be well served by serious JavaScript experience or a game development background.

 

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