Premature standards – Which mobile UI framework should I use?
Yesterday I spoke to a colleague of mine. He specializes in mobile technology and was approached to define the standard UI framework to use in order to use that one in all our mobile activities. Selecting a standard technology would reduce the effort to manage it thus saving costs.
He didn’t feel comfortable to reply and so wouldn’t I.
He had two reasons.
Currently there are quite a lot of UI kits and frameworks competing and it’s hard to foresee which one will be the winner.
And how do you recognize a winner anyway? Is it the feature completeness? The device compatibility? The file size? Or is it what most mobile developers eventually decide on is the thing to use?
I’s say the latter. A real standard is defined by the people using it. The more people use a technology the more likely it can be called a standard.
Each individual however will decide by the first three factors and some others they see fit.
You pick a standard not only to simplify your own processes but also to become independent of individuals. You can gain a lot more speed when you can pick someone else to do a job knowing that he will know the technology you decided to use.
But as long as the market has a high innovation level and new technologies and aspects pop up by the minute you will not find the crucial mass that makes a standard. Individuals will always try the new shiny. It will take a while for people to settle for one solution. They have to be fairly certain that it is the best or the next closest thing.
Picking a standard too early and building processes around it you will eventually (very soon) find yourself riding a dead horse when everybody else has moved on to something else.
Currently there are quite a lot of UI kits and frameworks competing all specializing and focussing on a different aspect.
Some are specializing in offering the same widgets across platforms while others want to offer the best platform features.
Some are specializing on design while others on making it easy for you to define your own design.
Some are specializing on tablets other on smartphones others on bot.
Some are specializing on wysiwyg while others want to offer development tools.
There are so many ways to distinguishing between the solutions currently available that there can not be a standard technology for mobile. That’s not a question fine enough to produce a good answer. You should rather be more specific on what you want to achieve before you pick a technology.
You will most likely end up picking different technologies for different scenarios.
Thanks to my colleague Oliver who inspired me to write this.