Selecting a mobile UI framework: Part 2
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This blog is a continuation of a list of key features you should consider when evaluating a mobile user interface (UI) framework. Please see the first half of my list of features in “Sel
Caching in mobile development is a very crucial topic where user experience can be tremendously enhanced or totally the opposite. Some mobile UI frameworks that already deal with the model view controller (MVC) model handle the caching process with a few easy steps to configure, rendering data in the UI with a really good performance and good user experience. This mechanism enables, for instance, offline (or almost) navigation and is able to work properly in slow or saturated mobile Internet connection, among other capabilities.
For business reasons, you might be in the situation in which you need to reach your app users in their native language or multiple languages. If that's part of your strategy, consider seriously whether your proffered mobile UI framework can support such glob
Nowadays, accessibility compliance for mobile apps thru screen readers is a must. Some mobile UI frameworks are better than others in this space but one thing is true: fixing accessibility issues is a nightmare for developers, specifically if the generated code is quite abstract and hard to extend or override. There is no shortcut to figure it out, other than performing a proof of concept, but this is worth your time if that's part of your business needs.
Navigation, transition effects and caching are key aspects of a mobile app, specifically for handy and good user experience design. Today, this is one of the most commonly enhanced areas for mobile UI frameworks, so give navigation features the appropriate weight in your framework features evaluation. For proof of concept, I highly recommend drag-and-drop and WYSIWYG (What you see is what you get) integrated development environment (IDE) features. One good example in IBM Worklight v6 is the mobile patterns.
Back-end integration (MVC)
Most mobile UI charting support has been delegated to third-party players, who typically extend base frameworks to provide such functionality. If your app requirements demand professional or complex charting features, make sure your base framework is easily extensible and can coexist with your preferred charting provider.
Themes support and auto-detection
In the mobile hybrid apps space, you are looking to make your app available in most of the mobile platforms, and you might want to get a cool and professional look and feel in whatever platform your app is going to run. So what platform (and version) themes does your mobile UI framework support? Typically, a mobile UI framework's home page can give you this answer. Also, some frameworks already deal with an “auto-detection” feature by detecting the device automatically and rendering CSS styles according the operating system users are running.
IDE tooling support
A WYSWYG IDE represents a tremendous advantage for proof of concept, prototyping and, most important, for running a mobile app development business. Template code base generation, content assist and drag-and-drop (Dnd) capabilities save developers a lot of time, reduce the coding errors and so on. Whatever mobile UI framework best fits your business needs, consider having WYSWYG integration in your IDE.
Testing and debugging
In this two-part series on selecting a mobile UI framework I’ve described what I believe are the most important features that app UI designers or architects should consider prior to adopting a mobile UI framework. A very simple exercise (like a checklist) might save you hours of development, reduce your budget and, most important, provide reliability and good user experience to your app users.
Please share your thoughts on my top features, and connect with me on Twitter @polomm_mx.
Leopoldo Miranda Martinez is a mobile technology evangelist and an experienced Software Developer with IBM Mexico. He specializes in different technologies, including mainframes, systems management, Java EE, Rich Internet Applications and mobile hybrid apps. Polo has comprehensive experience of customer support and is currently an IBM Technical Advisor. Follow Leopoldo on Twitter at @polomm_mx.