Sencha, PhoneGap, or TriggerIO

There’s a lot of content out there, and another framework at every turn. I feel constantly directed toward different products… use jQuery Mobile instead of Sencha, instead of PhoneGap… (not to mention server side) node instead of ruby. And then there’s express, meteor, firebase, and derby.

Needless to say, my attention is a little scattered. So rather than diving in and building a demo today, I read up on various cross-platform mobile frameworks and what advantages one has over the other. And honestly, they all look pretty good.

Found this article which gives an awesome summary of various development technologies and approaches.

It is a little biased.

The article addresses all those issues I had with installing PhoneGap yesterday, and explains how certain hybrid frameworks combines HTML5 and native environments, but complicates the development process. Put simply:

Sencha Touch – Pros/Cons
1) Super easy to build cross-platform.
2) It’s geared more toward mobile web look & feel.
3) Limited native device capabilities.
4) It’s free.
5) Lot’s of docs.

PhoneGap (with jQuery Mobile for UI) – Pros/Cons
1) Awesome native api’s – for accelerometers, location, calendar…
2) Different code base for each device – This becomes a problem not just in development time, but isolation of bugs and testing.
3) Builds for each native app separately – This means a lot of manual processes.
4) It’s free.

Adobe addresses and monetizes the two PhoneGap shortcomings with a their PhoneGap Build product. Developers upload source code into the cloud to generate native apps.

Trigger triumphs Adobe by providing 4 simple commands to create app, build native, launch simulator, and package the mobile web app. They also offer a stand-alone build, which I like. Their pricing model does seem a bit scary, if you’re a small shop who’s making a lot of updates and scaling quickly.

Honestly, I’d like to try Trigger for this project I’m thinking of, but don’t want to pay money to generate a proof of concept. As a disclaimer, I’m not affiliated with Trigger in any way. It’s only a gut feeling that if I were a developer (which I’m not BTW), based solely on ease of process, and not looking into performance, pricing, or extensibility, I would be inclined to use their toolkit for cross-platform mobile development.

Tomorrow, I’ll try to make a decision on which technology to use client-side for my little POC.