What is the best way to make your mobile app
look and feel like a native app?

The appearance and functionality of your mobile application can make or break the project. You may have a great concept and back end, but if the UI (user interface) sucks then the app will fail. This is because people have high expectations of quality and short attention spans. They like simple interfaces that are familiar to them, interfaces like the ones already found on their device. This is where user interface libraries like iUI and jQTouch come in.

iUI and jQTouch are frameworks that include all the css, javascript and images needed to build native looking apps (a.k.a you don’t have to reinvent the wheel). With minimal markup changes and coding experience you can turn your site into a mobile app that looks so good, people will think Apple made it. But which one is best for you?

iUI

iUI mimics the interface of a native app.

iUI (iPhone User Interface) mimics the interface of a native app.

iUI (iPhone User Interface), gives you the appearance and behavior of a native iPhone app without excessive coding. In fact, the default iUI images are borrowed from the iPhone interface (but you can modify them to your own liking). The interactivity is also mimicked so there is no need to write any special JavaScript to use it. It overrides the standard behavior of html with ajax, loads external pages into one page, shows a progress spinner, offers sliding check boxes and modal dialogue boxes. The only downside is that it is iPhone specific and doesn’t support interfaces of Android and Palm Pre. If only there was another way…

Download Visit Site Demo (view using iPhone or other WebKit browser)

jQTouch

To Do List

jQTouch helps you to create a To Do list interface just like on your iPhone, all with simple markup and JavaScript.

jQTouch not only provides frameworks for iPhone, but other WebKit browser phones like the Droid, Nexus One and Palm Pre. It is based on the jQuery library, which means you can leverage it’s power of simple syntax and plug-ins for your web app. However, because it is based off of the core jQuery library it’s page weight is around 112 kb vs. the iUI’s 40 kb.

Download Visit Site Demo (view using iPhone or other WebKit browser)


Interface libraries are a great tool for creating mobile web apps. Regardless of whether you decide to use iUI or jQTouch, you will be saving yourself a lot of time by not starting it all from scratch. I urge you to use these frameworks as a starting point, and build on the hard work of others to create something that is individual. That is the beauty of open source, but don’t forget about the hard working developers that gave you that starting point. Be sure to hook them up by donating a couple dollars.