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Yahoo Hopes Mobile Devs Will Guzzle Mojito

Developers can use Yahoo's open-source JavaScript framework to make more-resilient, downtime-proof mobile apps.

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Fulfilling a commitment it made last November, Yahoo on Monday released its Mojito JavaScript framework as open-source software.

Bruno Fernandez-Ruiz, chief architect of Yahoo's platform technology group, made the announcement at JSConf 2012, one of the largest JavaScript development conferences.

Mojito is part of a development suite that Yahoo calls Cocktails. The other component, Manhattan, is a server-side JavaScript hosting environment that runs Mojito-based applications on Yahoo's servers.

For developers, Mojito offers two distinct advantages: Web apps that work well on multiple software platforms and devices, and Web apps that can handle network disruptions. Mojito blurs the distinction between client and server because it allows the same code to operate on device and in the cloud.

[ Read Yahoo Mixes 'Cocktails' Web Development Frameworks. ]

Mojito provides a way for developers to build Web apps that run locally in a Web browser, that run primarily on the server side, or that run both locally and on the server. This flexibility makes it easier to write Web apps that remain functional when network connectivity is lost. Mojito Web apps are thus more competitive with native mobile apps, which have tended to perform better during network slowdowns or outages.

In an interview prior to the conference, Fernandez-Ruiz said that Yahoo about 18 months ago decided to adopt a mobile-first strategy. "We have to think beyond the desktop," he said.

Fernandez-Ruiz said there was some discussion of whether to focus on native apps or Web apps for mobile. "I became a very strong advocate for the company to go toward HTML5, knowing that there are a lot of rough edges, but essentially, we could invest in evolving the technology to make it a viable alternative [to native app development]. The reason is relatively simple: We are a Web company."

What the Web has is a large audience and that's something Yahoo can sell to advertisers. Native apps make life harder for ad-oriented companies such as Yahoo.

"With the appification of the space, where you end up is your audience is fragmented and the development landscape is fragmented," Fernandez-Ruiz said. "So the costs go higher because you have to create multiple versions of the app and [tracking users and personalization becomes more difficult]."

At the same time, Web apps struggle to perform as well as native apps, particularly on mobile devices. "The reality when you move to mobile is the networks and CPUs are not [as good as you get on the desktop]," said Fernandez-Ruiz. "And the Web is about being connected. So how do you deal with something that is slower and not reliable if you really want to build a Web app?"

Yahoo's answer is Mojito. Thanks to the performance work Yahoo has put into Cocktails and YUI--Yahoo's equivalent of the JQuery mobile framework--Mojito apps such as Yahoo Livestand, Fantasy Finance, and Fantasy Premier League Football feel as responsive as native Android or iOS apps.

Even so, Yahoo's Mojito could use further mixing. The company is encouraging developers to play with the framework and improve it if they can.

In this interactive virtual event from Dr. Dobb's, Developing With HTML5, top business technologists, experts, and solution providers will discuss the present and future of HTML5 as a Web- and mobile-development platform. When you register, you will gain access to live webcast presentations and virtual booths packed with free resources. It happens April 12. (Free registration required.)

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User Rank: Apprentice
4/6/2012 | 7:11:14 PM
re: Yahoo Hopes Mobile Devs Will Guzzle Mojito
The U.S. leads the world with a 15.6 mobile web penetration and 40 million active mobile web users. The reasons behind this trend are pretty obvious and certainly include.
GăˇThe ease-of-access the mobile phone has to offer, because it is always at hand.
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