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Javascripters promise Jobs-free HTML5 for iPad

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Javascripters who slammed Apple and Google for hyping HTML5 are offering a claimed frustration-free answer to coding for iPads, iPhones and Androids.

Ext JS is today expected to unveil the beta of a programming framework for building rich, web and touch-based applications and that draws on the HTML5 family of specs.

Ext JS, which claims one million developers on its Javascript frameworks to-date, is also changing its name to Sencha Labs and committing to support open-source projects JQTouch - an AJAX mobile framework - and the Raphaël SVG library. Sencha said this'll provide wider access to technologies for standards-based web development.

It'll be Sencha's branch out from Javascript and into HTML5 on touchy devices with the framework that will prove interesting to most, given the current climate.

Sencha's framework features components for buttons, sliders and carousels built using Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) 3.0, with local storage and caching that's part of the HTML5 spec and lets your mobile, browser app can work offline and synch up when it regains the network.

Sencha's push comes after the company lambasted Steve Jobs and Google for hyping HTML5 to the point where it's becoming "unhinged from reality" and going the way of Web 2.0.

Jobs in his iPad war on Adobe Systems' Flash player has focused on HTML5 as a video and graphics enabler, but video and graphics are just one part of the spec.

Browser rivals have now been drawn in to the fight, after Apple posted a supposed HTML5 showcase that implied Safari was the only browser capable working with the spec. Mozilla open-source evangelist Christopher Blizzard pointed out "a huge percentage of the world does have access to standards like HTML5" through Firefox and Chrome. HTML5 is also supported in Opera in addition to Safari.

Products vice president of Michael Mullany claimed much of what Jobs has stressed through this is really CSS plus Javascript. That simplification is driving developers crazy, he said, adding Sencha is avoiding applying the blanket HTML5 label to its framework for building iPhone and iPad apps. "We are trying to say it's the HTML5 family," Mullany said.

"We think HTML5 'family' is the right term. Google and Apple say 'let's keep it simple, let's call it HTML5' but developers say that's technically inaccurate."

While Jobs and Google have focused on HTML5 video and audio tags and the graphics component provided by CSS, components such as offline storage are being overlooked, Mullany claimed. "We've been waiting for 15 years for proper offline access," Mullany said.

Sencha is targeting WebKit browsers with its framework, due for completion next month. The framework will work the same on Apple and Android without modification.

"There's been no professional grade web app development framework that works across the browser quirks between Android and iPhone and deals with multiple manufacturers of the Android devices," Mullany said.

"Our framework gets around the impediments at an object and event level - it abstracts that away." ®

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