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Sencha Touch Spotlight: Mad Mobile and Pier 1 Imports

March 18, 2011 | Eriq Breland

Mad Mobile powers mobile websites and mobile commerce applications for top brands and retailers. Mad Mobile’s unique platform can quickly mobilize content and functionality from desktop sites without requiring clients to dedicate IT resources. Mad Mobile clients include Suzuki Automotive, TJ Maxx, Marshalls, Lenovo, Hunter Douglas, Disney, and Pier 1 Imports.

Pier 1 Imports is the largest specialty retailer of imported home furnishings and décor. They have grown since opening their first store in 1962 to over 1,000 locations in North America. Pier 1 is a publicly owned company that is traded on the New York Stock Exchange.

Pier1 mobile web app built with Sencha Touch Sencha Touch Pier1 mobile web app Sencha Touch Pier1 mobile web app

Visit http://m.pier1.com on your smartphone

Why We Chose Sencha Touch

Our development team is always on the lookout for new tactics and technologies to improve the mobile experience. We immediately recognized the value of delivering an app-like experience over the Mobile Web using Sencha Touch. Pier 1 Imports was our first client to jump at the chance to use a Sencha Touch UI, and the results were fantastic!

In our opinion, Sencha Touch is the best-in-class framework for mobile development.”

Sencha offers the most robust toolset for Web 2.0 interactive development with a full engine for event listener registration, an application scope and a full (and growing) toolset of components — all ready to go.

Sencha allows us to deliver web pages in real-time using customized event listeners, built-in page transitions and dynamic data encapsulation via internal, easy to use AJAX methods. The first page request to Pier1 instantiates the Sencha framework and all subsequent page requests are delivered in real-time. Page transitions and data retrieval are asynchronously triggered in real-time such that the content for a page is being rendered by the time the transition is complete.

The framework is built with an MVC methodology which is more familiar to developers. Sencha takes JavaScript out of the View and elevates to programming status. We love the ability to separate the work of a page into the MVC approach to development with Controllers handling the interaction between pages, Models which can handle their own loading and synchronization and Views logically laid out with custom listeners. We also appreciated the ability to extend built-in classes, so we could customize existing functionality to fit our needs.

Built-in SASS and Compass features allow for fast CSS templating. This is an important feature when a client requires an app-like feel yet skinned for their own branding guidelines. The built-in engines enable us, with only a few lines of code, to create complex CSS templates.

To provide store locations where products are available, we implemented an AJAX call on the Pier1 product detail page which sends in the zip code (parsed from the Google Geo Location API) along with the Product SKU. An HTML formatted page of store locations is returned which we then transform into a JSON array that is fed into a Sencha template.

Business Value of Using Sencha Touch

Using Sencha enables us to shave time off of the delivery schedule but more importantly, it offers a better mobile experience for our customers. It’s simply a faster, better experience. Mobile shoppers can go from browsing products to buying products in less time and clicks. It’s really that simple.

Our Advice to New Developers

Randy Brown, a senior developer, suggests new developers closely review all of the examples provided with the Sencha Touch download and get very friendly with the API docs. He also suggests submitting questions to the forums or better yet, signing up for a paid support plan, as you will probably save a ton of money paying for the support initially rather than looking for a solution on your own.

Final Thoughts

We will continue to build next generation mobile websites and apps featuring Sencha. We look forward to working closely with the Sencha product development folks to push the limits of the framework and introduce new features.

We’re excited to see Sencha expand support beyond iOS and Android. In our opinion, Sencha Touch is the best-in-class framework for mobile development.

There are 2 responses. Add yours.

Shao-Ning Zeng

3 years ago

looks nice - when i add my websiite (zsn.cc), an error born. Why?

Outsourcing Solutions

3 years ago

Looks great- having great features.

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