Writing about research and programming.

Survey about cross-platform frameworks for developing mobile applications

Update: The survey is closed. Thank you for your help. Unfortunately there were not enough participants for meaningful results, so eventually this won't be a part of the frameworks comparison.

Background and rationale of the survey

After the time schedule for my master's thesis, I have less than months left. Right now, I finished implementing a sample application using the following frameworks:

  • Titanium
  • Rhodes
  • PhoneGap + Sencha Touch 2
  • Android SDK (native implementation to compare with cross-platform frameworks)

An iPhone implementation is in the making, but since I have four Android apps finished, I wanted to do a survey about the Android variant of each app because one shouldn't compare the iOS against Android's UI. If the results are any good, they will be incorporated in my comparison, along with other criteria of the categories functionality, usability, developer support, reliability/performance, deployment/supportability/costs.

The purpose of this survey is to find out how cross-platform frameworks for mobile application development can compete in terms of stability, performance and UI experience & looks. It's a short app test with very few questions to be answered. Android phones only, sorry! The gist is that four variants of the same application are tested, each implemented with a different framework.

I would really appreciate if you could help me by filling out the survey.

Did I mention I might publish the thesis and related code for free?!


If you'd like to help me, here's what you can do:

  • Make sure you are online with your Android phone (please don't waste data traffic costs, use Wi-Fi)
  • Randomly choose one of the four QR codes below, remember the number (1-4) and install the app behind it (make sure installation from unknown sources is enabled; see also security note below). They are links, so you also can download the APK (Android app) file manually, but I'd recommend a scanning app.
  • I won't tell you which framework is behind each APK file – that will be revealed in the next post if it's of any interest.
  • Answer some questions about the app in this questionnaire (won't take long!). If the app does not even start on your device, please let me know in the questionnaire.
  • If you have made it thus far, you deserve a big thank you for your time and effort!!


3 4

The app should show existing orders after you start it, like so:

  • MobiPrint mockup

The application is dubbed “MobiPrint” and represents a simple example of a mobile business application. Its purpose is to upload pictures to a web service (owned by a fictitious chain of photo printing shops) in order to have them printed. You can:

  • Display a list and details for previous orders. Note: One app does not show the thumbnails correctly, only a placeholder – it works after the app is restarted (problem of the latest framework version). Same for the “Current order” tab.
  • Add pictures to the current order (one app cannot display pictures from the SD card unfortunately). The actual upload of pictures has been disabled to provide all testers with the same test data!
  • Display details of the current order
  • Submit the current order. This screen will try to find your current location and finds the nearest store (fake names there). If you enter any username/password combination, you can confirm the current order of pictures. Submission has been disabled, though, to provide all testers with the same test data!

Like I said, very simple. The app asks for three permissions: SD card access for caching thumbnails and orders, Internet access to call a web service and GPS location for finding nearby stores (one app requires another permission, don't know how to remove it). Apart from the communication between the app and the test web service, none of this information is used in any way, don't worry!

So long, let's get going. I hope many people join this little experiment. I'm happy to receive feedback, just leave a comment here or over at Reddit. Thanks in advance for your support!!

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