HTML 5 DevTools: Sencha Touch

EXTjs is now Sencha -and I am not sure the new moniker is much ahead of the old name. But EXT.js uhhhh.. Sencha really knows how to turn out good JavaScript code. If you are into Java web  development, EXT.GWT is very strong, gets Java to JavaScript and is well worth the look. On the other hand if you are a committed AJAX web developer [with a touch of Adobe AIR on the side] then both the EXT.js Framework, Ext.Core and EXT.js Designer will be well worth your attention. And of course this blog uses a WordPress theme based on EXT.js Framework.

So Keep an Open Eye was not surpised to see the recent annoucement of Sensa Touch – a JavaScript framework that supports mobile web development  with HTML5. Not only that, but Sensa Touch unites EXT.js data handling savvy [links to popular databases with JSON, YQL, andAJAX ]with the Touch+Gestures of iOS4 [think tap, swipe, pinch, etc]. The following shows Sensa Touch in action in a  Chrome browser:

Keep an Open Eye was surprised that this demo does not run in IE, Firefox or Opera. The latter is surprising because Opera Mini does run on the iPhone. So both on mobile phones and PCs Sencha Touch generates code only for Webkit browsers which is primarily Apple Safari and Google Chrome [used in the screenshot above].  This is about 15% of all Web browsers in use Worldwide.

Sencha warned PC users in a posting that that Touch is a mobile browser oriented system with its roots in WebKit display technology. But Mozilla’s Fennec in the mobile space it was implied may be supported. So this is the downside to HTML5 Touch – 1)it runs completely only in Webkit on mobile browsers; 2)it runs partially [missing multi-touch gestures plus text copy and paste] in PC webkit browsers, and 3)does not support the complete set of options  available in EXT.js JavaScript framework  on the PC.

So clearly two different web development worlds are evolving – mobile with hot touch/gesture features but missing the full range of AJAX options and widgets that are available on the PC with JavaScript frameworks like jQuery, EXT.js, DHTMLx, and a host of others. As Moore’s law comes to bear on mobiles and PCs pick up full screen touch and gesture capabilities, this divergence may narrow and completely disappear. Meanwhile there is a growing gap for HTML5 between mobile and PC browser usage.

Sencha touch brings a host of goodies to  HTML5 mobile web development. This includes a stable of well designed icons, some smooth predefined animation routines plus some of the key EXT.js widgets and JavaScript coding for menus, tabs, lists, carousels, and cards among others. In addition, Sencha Touch uses SASS [Ruby based]as a templating system to allow its  CSS3 driven widget themes/styling to be changed straighforwardly [ a weakness in EXT.js PC framework]. However, there is a trade-off: developers have to come up to speed in the Ruby routines that drive SASS.

In sum, Sencha is one of the first vendors to bring full Touch+Gestures to HTML5 and specifically development for Apple iOS and Google Android on mobile devices. The routines work pretty well in PC Webkit browsers but not at all in Firefox, IE, and Opera PC browsers.  Here is one Web Developer praying for rain – i.e. the quick convergence of Touch+Gestures and other mobile  browser features with their PC counterparts.

1 thought on “HTML 5 DevTools: Sencha Touch”

  1. Hello!

    A question about “2)it runs partially [missing multi-touch gestures plus text copy and paste] in PC webkit browsers,”
    Also on Multi-Touch displays and on multi-touch notebooks? On a normal display “swipe” works in the demo with the mouse.

    But I do not know if Swipe and Pinch will work on a multi-touch display which supports 2 finger recognition?
    Otherwise I thought about combining. If I can not resize an image in a web application with two-finger pinch, I can use the Resizable of Ext JS:
    http://dev.sencha.com/deploy/dev/examples/resizable/basic.html
    So I would cover iOS and webkit based PC browsers like Safari and Chrome.

    Will this work?

    Best Regards.

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