Comparing Mobile JavaScript Frameworks

Below are the results of feature testing three JavaScript mobile frameworks: jQuery Mobile, Dojo, and Sencha Touch. Three specific features were tested that are paramount in emulating a native experience:

  1. Fixing a header and footer to the top and bottom of the screen.
  2. Scrolling content between the header and footer.
  3. Animating a slide transition between pages.

Each area that was tested was graded as “Good” (works well/provides native-like experience – green), “Bad” (doesn’t work at all – red), and “Ugly” (works poorly – yellow).

When targeting these platforms you should only use the features marked in green. With transitions and scrolling with a fixed position header and footer, the user experience is serverely impacted by poor performance. It is better to remove the feature on poor performing platforms. Smooth and snappy performance will keep users and clients happy. Clients’ requirements should be informed of these realities.

View the source on Google Code.

Dojo 1.7.2

Platform Fixed Header/Footer Scrolling Slide Transition
HTC Desire Z – Android 2.3 (Stock browser)
HTC Desire Z – Android 2.3 (Firefox 13 Beta)
Samsung Galaxy Nexus – Android 4.0.1
iPhone 3G – iOS 4.2.1
iPhone 4S – iOS 5.1
Samsung Galaxy Tab – Android 2.1 (Stock browser)
Samsung Galaxy Tab – Android 2.1 (Firefox 10)
Blackberry Playbook – Playbook OS 2.0
iPad 3 – iOS 5.0.1

jQuery Mobile 1.1

Platform Fixed Header/Footer Scrolling Slide Transition
HTC Desire Z – Android 2.3 (Stock browser)
HTC Desire Z – Android 2.3 (Firefox 13 Beta)
Samsung Galaxy Nexus – Android 4.0.1
iPhone 3G – iOS 4.2.1
iPhone 4S – iOS 5.1
Samsung Galaxy Tab – Android 2.1 (Stock browser)
Samsung Galaxy Tab – Android 2.1 (Firefox 10)
Blackberry Playbook – Playbook OS 2.0
iPad 3 – iOS 5.0.1

Sencha Touch 2

Platform Fixed Header/Footer Scrolling Slide Transition
HTC Desire Z – Android 2.3 (Stock browser)
HTC Desire Z – Android 2.3 (Firefox 13 Beta)
Samsung Galaxy Nexus – Android 4.0.1
iPhone 3G – iOS 4.2.1
iPhone 4S – iOS 5.1
Samsung Galaxy Tab – Android 2.1 (Stock browser)
Samsung Galaxy Tab – Android 2.1 (Firefox 10)
Blackberry Playbook – Playbook OS 2.0
iPad 3 – iOS 5.0.1
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