Mobile HTML/JS frameworks in the wild

Broadly speaking, mobile frameworks can be divided into two categories: those that focus on Javascript utilities, and those that also provide cross-platform interface elements.

Frameworks differ vastly in scope: Sencha Touch is huge (over 300 KB), but it also provides the most robust development platform across devices and operating systems.

One big difference to note is that unlike most other frameworks, Sencha Touch is written entirely in Javascript (rather than building on HTML markup).

On the opposite end of the spectrum is Zepto, aiming to be under 5 KB in size, and MicroJS, which allows you to pick and choose small components as you need them.

jQTouch is an interesting beast, but it’s definitely more keyed to creating specific kinds of interfaces for mobile Web apps.

I think jQuery Mobile is somewhat poorly named; it really should be “jQuery UI Mobile”.

Two that seem to fall somewhere between jQTouch and Sencha Touch is appML (heavy) and Jo (very light).

One important thing is to remember that smartphones aren’t limited to the iOS and Android platforms; there’s also webOS, Blackberry, Windows Phone 7 and Symbian out there, to name the ones off the top of my mind. This is the whole reason interface-oriented frameworks exist.

Finally, you should always keep in mind that perhaps you don’t need a framework at all.