10 Frameworks to Build Mobile Application with HTML, CSS & JavaScript

For many web developers, which may only be familiar with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, developing a native mobile app could be unfamiliar territory. Technically speaking, mobile apps in Android, iOS, and Windows Phone are built using completely different programming languages; an Android app uses Java, an iOS app uses Objective-C, while a Windows Phone app uses .NET.

But now, anyone with a decent knowledge of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript can build a mobile application. One key advantage of using web technology to build your app is Portability. Using a packager/compiler, like PhoneGap, you will be able to port and install your app on many different platforms.

There are a number of frameworks that make this possible. They also have done half of the hard work to bridge the gap between web and mobile platforms. Here we have put together 10 of the best mobile frameworks that we could find. If you are ready to build the next billion-dollar app let’s check out the list.

1. jQuery Mobile

jQueryMobile is a robust mobile development framework to build cross-mobile-platform app. jQuery Mobile support a wide range of different platforms, from a regular desktop, smart phone, tablet, or an e-reader device like Nook or Kindle. Similar to its sibling, jQuery UI, jQuery Mobile comprises a number of UI that, in this case, is optimized for mobile and touch-enabled devices.

Recommended Reading: Mobile App Design/Dev: Beginner’s Guide To JQuery Mobile

2. Cordova / PhoneGap

PhoneGap is essentially based on Cordova. Cordova/Phonegap provides a set JavaScript APIs that connect to the device’s native functions such as Camera, Compass, Contacts, and Geolocation. Cordova/Phonegap lets us build a mobile application without the native programming language; instead we can use a framework like jQuery Mobile. It will compile your app using the platform’s SDK and will be ready to install on the platform it supports including iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Blackberry and Web OS.

3. Sencha Touch

Sencha Touch is a mobile framework powered by HTML5 and CSS3, providing APIs, animations, and components that are compatible with the current mobile platforms and browsers. Sencha Touch supports both Cordova and PhoneGap; you can compile your app, and submit your app to the respective platform’s App Stores. In addition, Sencha Touch provides a set of themes for iOS, Android, Blackberry, Windows Phone, Tizen, and a variety of other platforms to help your app feel like a native app.

4. Ratchet

Ratchet was originally used by Twitter as an internal tool to create their mobile app prototype which is then released publicly as an open source project. Ratchet comes with a collection of User Interface and JavaScript plugins for building simple mobile apps, providing reusable HTML classes. In version 2.0, Ratchet is also shipped with its proprietary font icon set named Ratcheticon and two pre-made UI themes for iOS and Android.

5. Ionic

If you are concerned with your app performance, Ionic is the right framework for you. Ionic is an HTML5 mobile framework with focus on performance, by leveraging hardware acceleration, and it requires no third-party JS library. It works best together with Angular.js to build an interactive app. Similar to Ratchet, Ionic is shipped with a nicely crafted font icon set, Ionicons, and a bunch of reusable HTML classes to build the mobile UI.

6. Lungo

Lungo is a lightweight mobile framework based on HTML5 and CSS3. It has very nice default styles that you can use as a starting point to design your mobile app. Aside for the mobile UI components, Lungo brings a number of JavaScript API to control your app. Lungo supports the following platforms: iOS, Android, Blackberry and Firefox OS.

7. jQT

jQT is a Zepto plugin for mobile framework primarily designed for Webkit browsers. jQT is easily customizable and extensible. It comes with a theme that can be modified using Sass/Compass, cool 3D transition that is adjustable via CSS3, plus developers could also extend jQT with their own required functionalities.

8. Junior

Junior is also a Zepto plugin for building a mobile app similar to jQT. But Junior is dependent on several external libraries for some features to work, namely Backbone.js, Flickable.js for creating a swipe-able slider, and Ratchet for the UI scaffold.

9. Jo

Jo supports a wide variety of mobile platforms including Tizen and Chrome OS. Jo also comes with a starter, that is powered by CSS3, so it makes it easy for web developers at any level of experience to grasp and start styling their apps. In addition, you can use Jo along with PhoneGap or Cordova to pack your app for use on mobile platform.

10. Famo.us

A new kid on the mobile framework block, Famo.us promises to eliminate HTML5 performance issue on mobile devices with its lightweight JavaScript engine (only 64k). Famo.us, reportedly, will a also launch a cloud-based service to package your app to publish to the AppStore – it sounds like Phonegap and Sencha will get a new competitor soon. You can sign up as a beta tester in www.famo.us to get your hands on it.

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