The PropertyCross project

22 May 2013

Over in the UK, Colin Eberhardt and Chris Price have been taking on an arduous task: evaluating the various frameworks and libraries that (ostensibly) help you create mobile applications. Their goal is not necessarily to discuss the Objective-C’s and Javas of this world, but instead to look at those libraries that allow you to create cross-platform apps that also hopefully take on a native look-and-feel for the device they’re run on.  They are initially concentrating on iOS, Android, and Windows Phone 8.

PropertyCrossTo help them in this exercise, they decided to replicate an app they’d already written. The app was chosen specifically “because it is non-trivial, multi-screen and makes use of a number of device capabilities including page navigation, geolocation, storage and web services.” The app is a search front-end for UK property listings and is called PropertyCross. Not only do they review each library that they use, they are also publishing all of the code they write for this app on GitHub. So, you can check out their methodology and results, and also peruse the source to aid you in your search for a mobile multi-platform framework.

Colin contacted us a little while back to see if we wanted to participate, and want to we did. We first wrote the app using the original DXTREME, but identified several issues, mostly performance-related, as we did so. This formed a strong  impetus for our plans for the new DXTREME Mobile and for the PhoneJS library it builds upon: improve the performance. Oh, and by the way, while you’re doing that, make it much faster. Consequently we withdrew our initial undertaking as we went back to the drawing board. PropertyCross was an ideal example of the kinds of mobile business apps our customers wanted to write, so optimizing for it helped make PhoneJS and DXTREME Mobile easier to use (and more performant) in those scenarios.

We submitted our new implementation last week and Colin has just published it on the PropertyCross site. We’re very pleased indeed: check out the screenshots on that page for an example of how PhoneJS solves the native look-and-feel problem, and download the source from GitHub to check out how it’s implemented.

(A note on the “Known Issues” on the PhoneJS page for PropertyCross: we’re actively attending to those we can address. Unfortunately something like PhoneGap not working fully with Windows Phone 8 is a little out of our hands.)

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