Sencha Touch Spotlight: Getographer
535 Labs is a web and mobile application services company. Our partners are seasoned high-tech start-up executives who have collectively started and built over a dozen successful high technology firms in the networking, software, and semiconductor industries. In addition, we have some of the best Sencha developers in the world.
We built Getographer for three reasons. We wanted to create a mobile platform for near-instant information sharing, to showcase our capabilities, and to demonstrate the unique capabilities of HTML5 and Sencha Touch. And we did — we built a unique photo sharing platform while also showing the market that we could do amazing work building a sophisticated mobile HTML5 app that was beautiful, easy to use, and took advantage of the capabilities of the device.
Specifically, Getographer allows: (1) a requester to use a mobile phone to send photo requests to smartphone users in a target area and (2) responders to receive the request, take the desired photos, and return them to the requester in near real-time.
Why We Chose Sencha Touch
We chose the Sencha Touch framework because it allowed us to deliver a cross-platform experience in record time, and it’s built on standard web technologies. For example, by using Sencha Touch MVC, we were able to easily structure and organize our application code, saving a lot of development time and in the end giving us a codebase that scales well and is comfortable for our developers. In addition, we were able to leverage the Sencha Data Package for easy integration with our server platform via a standard RESTful interface — pure separation of concerns.
We were also drawn to the high quality, pre-built UI components provided by Sencha Touch including Paged Lists, Tab Panels, and Form classes that are easily themed using SASS/Compass and now Sencha Designer 2. Being able to use Sencha.io Src was also a great bonus — achieving significant time savings by serving photos sized automatically for the device.
Finally, we have always been impressed with the quality of Ext JS. It is a mature and stable platform, but always fresh and cutting edge. Knowing the same group was behind Sencha Touch gave us confidence we were building an excellent foundation for moving into the future and enhancing the app.
Business Value of Using Sencha Touch
Using Sencha Touch, we cut our development time by more than 50%. That’s because we were able to
- Build for iOS and Android simultaneously
- Quickly prototype and test the app in our desktop browser without dealing with emulators, or app compilation
- Spend almost no time writing HTML or CSS
We were able to include more features than originally planned in the initial release of Getographer because of these time savings, and the application is easy to extend due to enterprise features in Sencha Touch, such as MVC. We look forward to building desktop features using Ext JS, and expanding our reach to other mobile platforms.
“Sencha Touch allowed us to deliver a cross-platform experience in record time.”
Advice to New Developers
Jump right in! Sencha Touch is one of the best frameworks on the market today. After you get over the initial hump, the learning curve is fast, and there’s a great community of developers on the Sencha Forums who are very friendly and willing to provide advice.
We’re very pleased with our decision to use Sencha Touch to build the platform we needed while showcasing our team’s abilities with today’s leading technology. The market is responding well to Getographer’s elegance and ease of use, and we were gratified to win the 2011 SenchaCon Share mobile application contest. Add to that our enthusiasm for all of the Sencha frameworks and tools, and it’s easy to understand why Sencha is central to our services business.