jQTouch to make Rhodes Apps feel more iPhone-ish

rhodes-framework-mobile-developmentEven though the iPhone specific CSS is not perfect in Rhodes, it can be easily customized to improve the look of the app and make it similar to a native one. But there’s another important aspect for the look & feel of a native iPhone app: animations (transitions between views) and this is missing in Rhodes.

We tried to fix this by using jQTouch, a jQuery plugin for mobile web development. It provides all kind of animations that you would expect from a native iPhone app: horizontal and vertical slide, flip, pop, fade. You can even create your own animations. It also features swipe detection.

It’s pretty impressive but we found out it has a serious limitation: it is designed to handle views defined inside the same HTML file (each view in its own div). Another problem we encouter is with the forms: they are submitted through AJAX by default. jQTouch is not a perfect match for the MVC architecture.

Our project was close to launch and we thought it would be easy to add animations using jQTouch (since jQuery is already part of Rhodes distribution). Unfortunately the changes required were bigger than we expected, so we abandoned the idea for this version of the app.

jQTouch remains a great alternative to improve the look & feel (especially the feel) of a iPhone app developed in Rhodes, but should be integrated from the start of the development.

jQTouch Preview from David Kaneda on Vimeo.