Monday, June 21st

jQTouch and Sencha Touch: Which is right for you?

Recently I had the pleasure of announcing Sencha Touch, a standards-based mobile app framework which I helped create. As expected, this has raised some questions about jQTouch, a similar library I created last year. As covered before, jQTouch will remain separate, maintained, and free under the MIT license. This post helps distinguish the similarities and differences between the two libraries for the discerning mobile developer.

Both libraries use web standard HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript to create an optimized experience for mobile WebKit. jQTouch is focussed strictly on the iPhone, iPod Touch, and soon, Android. Sencha Touch covers these devices, as well, but also includes support for tablets. Both can be deployed as web apps, or embedded in a wrapper such as PhoneGap to deploy to mobile app stores.

jQTouch is powered by jQuery, a highly popular JavaScript library, and is geared toward web designers and novice web app developers. jQTouch progressively enhances HTML and CSS, so that less capable phones are still be able to browse content. The primary method of creating functionality in jQTouch is with HTML & CSS, or jQuery style event callbacks.

Sencha Touch, on the other hand, is geared more toward software developers, with a pure Javascript API for building powerful apps. It is powered by a custom core which is optimized for mobile, which inherently makes the core level in Sencha Touch lighter and better optimized than that in jQTouch. It offers a wide array more features and components and is better suited for mobile developers creating apps with advanced layouts, functionality, and interfaces.

Conclusion

I believe there’s a place on the web for both of these libraries, and I hope this helps clarify which one is right for you. If you have any questions, please ask them here and I’ll try to answer them.

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