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