Developers building mobile apps face a formidable challenge: How to support the growing number of device types and operating systems without having to learn the intricate details of each. Sencha is addressing this obstacle and others by delivering frameworks, resources and tools that enable developers to build outstanding Web app experiences using HTML5, CSS3 and JavaScript that run on smartphones, tablets and desktops.

More than a million enterprise and independent developers are currently using Sencha application frameworks and tools. Adobe, Best Buy, Dell and are a mere few of the many leading companies using Sencha technologies to power their business apps.

Sencha offers three Web app frameworks: Sencha Touch, a mobile application development framework; Ext JS, a cross-browser JavaScript framework; and Ext GWT, a Java framework for building rich Web apps using Google Web Toolkit.

Sencha also offers two tools: Ext Designer, a set of UI components that can be selected and configured with drag-and-drop simplicity; and Sencha Animator (currently available as a developer preview) which is the industry’s first purpose-built tool for creating rich and engaging CSS3-based animations that can be viewed on the Blackberry Torch, iPhone/iPad and Android-based devices without rich media plug-ins.

“Sencha provides the leading HTML5, CSS3 and JavaScript frameworks and tools for Web apps,” said James Pearce, senior director of developer relations at Sencha. “We are dedicated to bringing beautiful mobile Web applications to life.”

Sencha Touch currently supports Android, Apple iOS and BlackBerry 6 operating systems. Other supported browsers and platforms are in the works. Using Sencha Touch, developers can write most types of application with familiar Web tools and technologies, and then easily deploy them across a range of smartphones and tablets. (There are some exceptions, of course; a graphic-intensive 3D app dependent on GPU acceleration, for example, might require native development for performance reasons.)

“Building a native app for four major smartphone platforms requires the use of four different programming languages,” said Pearce. “There is also considerable diversity as it relates to hardware, software APIs and capabilities. Developers are turning to Web technologies like the Sencha Touch framework to simplify the porting process, or avoid it altogether.”

WidgetBox, an audience management and digital marketing solutions provider, reassigned two staff members that had been working on framework issues to core product development after adopting Sencha Touch. Xero, a user-friendly accounting system provider, saved months of development time and is now able to spend more time focusing on product feature and user experience innovations.

The entire Sencha Touch library is under 120KB, and it can be further reduced by disabling unused components or styles. Using the library, developers can create “native-like” user experiences such as scrolling lists, transitional animations and other on-screen application behaviors, which are difficult to code by hand consistently across devices. Sencha Touch is also resolution-independent, so apps display consistently on devices with different pixel density.

“One of the things a framework does is to provide an abstraction layer, because developers shouldn’t have to understand the esoteric differences between handsets,” said Pearce. “The iPhone browser uses hardware acceleration to achieve smooth animations and user experiences. Android handsets typically do not because they’re running on hardware from many vendors like Motorola, Samsung and so. We resolve the differences on behalf of the developer to deliver the best possible user experience regardless of the device.”

Most mobile applications benefit from being able to pull data in from a server or the cloud. To build apps with reliable and flexible data connections, Sencha Touch includes a powerful data package and client-side MVC framework. Developers can request data from a broad array of sources whether by AJAX, JavaScript Object Notation with Padding (JSONP) or Yahoo Query Language (YQL). They can then bind the data to specific visual components or templates and take the data offline using HTML5 localStorage capabilities.

Further, because Sencha Touch is written in JavaScript with extensibility in mind, developers can easily extend the framework. In fact, there is an entire community redistributing its extensions and add-ons. And Web apps can be distributed much like native ones too: Many developers are building mobile apps with Sencha Touch, packaging them with PhoneGap (or other similar packagers), and distributing them through app stores such as the Apple App Store or Android Marketplace.

Sencha Touch is the mobile equivalent of Sencha’s Ext JS framework for desktop Web apps, and in fact the two frameworks have code in common as evidenced by the new Ext JS 4 release. According to Pearce, Sencha’s desktop business remains strong and because enterprise developers are under pressure to build mobile applications for the corporate environment, many existing Ext JS customers are adopting Sencha Touch as a way to quickly do this.

For more information about Sencha, Sencha Touch and other Sencha products, or to download Sencha Touch for free, visit