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Review: Mobile Web development frameworks face off

Peter Wayner | Oct. 31, 2013
jQuery Mobile, Sencha Touch, Kendo UI, and Intel App Framework bring a native look and feel to Web apps for mobile devices

There are more built-in options for styling with Kendo UI, and you can create your own with one of the several tools. There's a UI Mobile Theme builder that lets you change the color and fonts for the interface by dragging and dropping the colors in a browser window filled with five different mobile options. You can test the look on an iPhone, Android, BlackBerry, and Nokia in one glance. The basic themes echo the standard look and feel for each platform so that the tool will seem like a native app, complete with the native look and feel. Kendo UI also offers a more universal theme to create an app that appears the same on all platforms, should you want a more consistent brand.

The widget collection emulates the standard collection of nav bars, lists, buttons, and whatnot found in the native code. All are touch-enabled and able to be bundled into pages that work together as an application. The framework is sensitive to the size of the screen, so you can offer split screens and layouts more appropriate for larger tables. There's also a nicely crafted collection of the basic graphs (bar, bubble, donut, and so on) and dials that make a decent dashboard. All are generally knitted together as DIVs.

The Kendo UI framework is part of a bigger strategy for Telerik. Not only is it the preferred framework for the company's Icenium toolkit, but it's also part of a collection of server-side tools for developers building more traditional PHP, .Net, or JSP-based apps. So you can carry over some of your basic Kendo UI design over to a Web app. The design philosophy maps neatly but not the code. You'll be rewriting much of the Kendo UI code in either PHP, .Net, or JSP, but you'll rely on the same basic structure.

Kendo is a commercial product with prices that begin as low as $199 per developer for the mobile libraries. Prices go up from there to $999 per developer for the tools for using it with the server-side libraries for PHP, .Net, or JSP. These include support and free updates for one year.

Kendo UI
The Kendo UI ThemeBuilder lets you fiddle with the colors and fonts of your themes and see them simulated in all five of the major smartphone platforms.

App Framework
Intel may still be known for creating the chips that power the desktops of the world, but the company has been trying to expand into the world of software for many years. The App Framework is one of its latest projects. A collection of JavaScript and CSS that can emulate all the native features of the major phones (iOS, Android, Windows 8, and BlackBerry), App Framework offers much of the same functionality as the other frameworks, but also includes a large collection of tools for building and testing your apps.


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