9 Mobile Framework to Kick Start Your Mobile Development Career

Written by Kevin Liew on 07 Feb 2011
234,435 Views • Mobile Development


Mobile development has been growing since the day Apple introduced iPhone. Mobile browser has never been so robust. It supports HTML5, CSS3 even with CSS animation. After that, Google introduced Android to join existing iPhone app developers in ushering in the mobile platform era. That leave a significant mark to the milestone of mobile development.

In the mobile industry, it has quite a few of frameworks available aiming to create a mobile web app rapidly. To help you start up your mobile development, I have done some research on all mobile frameworks, and below is the list. I have used jQTouch before, it's pretty easy to implement but definitely has a lot of room of improvement.

This page has been translated into Spanish language by Maria Ramos.

  • Zepto.js Zepto.js is a minimalist JavaScript framework for mobile WebKit browsers, with a jQuery-compatible syntax. The goal: a 2-5k library that handles most basic drudge work with a nice API so you can concentrate on getting stuff done. Zepto.js is currently in early beta, and you can help to make it awesome by contributing code, documentation and demos.
  • DynamicX DHTMLX Touch is an HTML5-based JavaScript library for building mobile web applications. It’s not just a set of UI widgets, but a complete framework that allows you to create eye-catching, cross-platform web applications for mobile and touch-screen devices.
  • Sencha Sencha Touch, the first HTML5 mobile JavaScript framework that allows you to develop mobile web apps that look and feel native on iPhone and Android touchscreen devices, has just hit the big 1.0. And best of all, it’s completely free to use.
  • jQuery Mobile A unified user interface system across all popular mobile device platforms, built on the rock-solid jQuery and jQuery UI foundation. Its lightweight code is built with progressive enhancement, and has a flexible, easily themeable design.
  • jQTouch A jQuery plugin for mobile web development on the iPhone, iPod Touch, and other forward-thinking devices.
  • Wink ToolKit Wink toolkit is a mobile JavaScript framework for building webapps on iPhone, iPad and Android
  • iUI iUI is a framework consisting of a JavaScript library, CSS, and images for developing advanced mobile webapps for iPhone and comparable/compatible devices.
  • iWebkit iWebKit is a file package designed to help you create your own iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad compatible website or webapp.
  • WebAPP.net WebApp.Net is a light weight, powerful javascript framework taking advantage of AJAX technology. It provides a full set of ready to use components to help you develop, quickly and easily, advanced mobile web applications.
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Matthew Brookes 13 years ago
that's a great list one other I am aware of is: http://www.phonegap.com/
Waheed Akhtar 13 years ago
Long way to go for mobile development :) but thanks for these frameworks
Pierre Legrand 13 years ago
One more: BkRender
Stas 13 years ago
I'd add http://xuijs.org . It is pretty nice as it supports also Symbian's Webkit for non-touch screens
Avinash 13 years ago
http://bit.ly/hJtqnR found some more nice framework,
Nonsense 13 years ago
"Mobile development has been growing since the day Apple introduced iPhone. Mobile browser has never been so robust. It supports HTML5, CSS3 even with CSS animation."

Yeah, that's all the crippled iphone & ipad support but don't bundle all the others under this crippled description as Android supports it all, the full web experience, flash and all.

I wish you wouldn't keep putting the iphone & ipad before all the others as they are the least capable devices and not even the most popular as there are 400,000 new Android registered devices each and every day.

"At Google's I/O Android keynote the company said 400,000 Android devices are activated daily.

That brings the total of activated Android devices to a whopping 100 million. This was in May, the number is much higher now.

Other notable stats:

There are over 200,000 free and paid apps available in the Android Market.

To date, more than 4.5 billion apps have been installed on Android phones and tablets.
Kevin Liew Admin 13 years ago
Hi there, i'm not trying to start an argument about apple vs android here. I'm big fan of Google products, though I'm using iPhone & iPad but Android and Honeycomb are really good platform, both of them have their pros and cons, to argue about it, we can talk about it forever. I'm pretty sick of people doing that, because two different company has their different belief of how mobile platform should look like. Anyway, the fact is, Apple released iOS first and Google latter. It's not about the sequence neither, it is about the positive impact both of them has brought to the web development.
Markus 13 years ago
Pingpong 13 years ago
Great page Markus, very helpful. Thanks!
Lucas 13 years ago
Hi Markus. Useful chart, you should add http://www.applicationcraft.com to it.
Micka 13 years ago
Do you know BkRender ? www.bkrender.com
Chris 13 years ago
I've created an entire blog dedicated to mobile frameworks and prototyping/mockup/wireframing tools: http://mobileframeworks.com . I hope someone finds it useful!
Vitali 13 years ago
Recently I have been playing with Web 2.0 Touch - https://github.com/web20boom/Web-2.0-Touch, seems to be easier to use then some others.
Drew Milne 13 years ago
Hey, you funk soul brothers! Check out Application Craft http://applicationcraft.com

Jquerymobile has announced AC as a jqm dev platform and here's a case study that Phonegap did on them : http://applicationcraft.com

In summary, it is a cloud-based dev platform that does mobile (all important platforms) and desktop on an equal footing. It's got an IDE that does drag-and-drop / wysiwyg UI building as well as code editing. I guess you could describe it as Visual Basic in the Cloud, but Javascript not Basic. Widget based like VB was, extensible. Open Source with free platform offering.
Eric 13 years ago
I would avoid both Jquery Mobile and Jqtouch. Jquery mobile uses custom attributes that it looks for to add styles. It is unnecessary and an extra process. Both use sizzle when smart phones support querySelectorAll and it does unneeded checks since it was originally written for browsers (attachEvent, etc).

I spent the time developing my own which includes a querying script like jquery (event method chaining). It came out under 5K. The script is not even necessary. I guess my suggestion is, do your own, use PhoneGap to get it out there.


David 12 years ago
Jquery Mobile is anything by "rock solid". It's basically unusable on an older iphone. Which means that you can't use it or you'll lose half of your audience