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Why I started with jQuery Mobile Alpha

With the evolution of mobile application development, the learning curve for the current generation of phones have been ever growing. From Objective-C to Android Java SDK, ASP.NET to MIDlet applications, mobile application development trend has always been moving forward with latest technologies.

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With the evolution of mobile application development, the learning curve for the current generation of phones have been ever growing. From Objective-C to Android Java SDK, ASP.NET to MIDlet applications, mobile application development trend has always been moving forward with latest technologies. In this day and age, the learning curve for mobile application development has been ever diverse, thus it’s hard to become adept in just “mobile application development.”

As developers, we’re often stuck in the middle deciding, which application to make, and often, what platform. Sometimes developers in the industry sometimes doesn’t have a choice, but to make the same application for different platforms. Often, companies hire different breed of programmers, such as iPhone developers, Android developers, Blackberry developers, etc.. but can we ask ourselves, is there a better way?

As a web developer, I could not help but to be intrigued by jQuery mobile.

“A unified user interface system across all popular mobile device platforms, built on the rock-solid jQuery and jQuery UI foundation. Its lightweight code is built with progressive enhancement, and has a flexible, easily themeable design.”

According to jQuery mobile, they’re building something grand here. With evolution of HTML5, powerful javascript framework such as jQuery, and smaller learning curve, there is a great potential with such framework.

1. Cross Platform for A-Grade phones

jQuery Mobile is still in alpha phase. Currently, only a handful of the A-Grade phones support it. However, the development has been steady, and they have handful more features coming out with the next release, as well as more support for others.

The question now becomes, should we support older phones? Unlike old computers, people carry phones around all the time. Phones wear and tear over time, such as battery life and etc. With mobile providers offering free phones upon activation and re-activation, we know for certain that people will continue to get better phones over time.  Why support it, when we know they will be gone in few years?

2. Customizable interface via HTML and CSS

The advantages of designing interface through html/css has many advantages. It’s not just html, we’re talking html5. with proper rounded corners and box shadows, your app will look amazing in phones with html5 support.

The customizable interface made by the jQuery mobile team is also amazing. From list views to buttons, they are easily customizable, themable, and user friendly.

3. jQuery mobile makes almost everything possible

If you are a jQuery programmer, you should know that almost everything is possible to do with just jQuery and a web browser. Inside jQuery mobile, there are events which makes development a lot easier. jQuery mobile also supports static header/footer navigations not found in Blackberry Widgets or Blackberry Java development, which makes it more appealing to Blackberry developers. Did I mention, everything is 100% customizable?

4. PhoneGap support

PhoneGap makes things possible so that apps developed in jQuery Mobile can be used as offline apps, and they are now being accepted in iPhone App store.

“PhoneGap is an open source development framework for building cross-platform mobile apps. Build apps in HTML and JavaScript and still take advantage of core features in iPhone/iPod touch, iPad, Google Android, Palm, Symbian and Blackberry SDKs.”

PhoneGap itself is pretty new, and it’s steadily evolving. Pretty soon, they will support better functionality for each individual OS, and with jQuery Mobile, it will be feasible to develop cross platform applications in the near future.

Closing Remarks

Though there are many positives to jQuery mobile, there are still few negatives. It’s still premature, not ready for production yet. They are to release version 1 sometime in January of 2011, and we’re hoping to see where this goes.

Related posts:

  1. Mobile Devices and Websites in the year 2009
  2. Web Development in the Year 2010
  3. Simple Fast Easy make your website iPhone ready!
  4. Why you must have Creative Suite 5.5
  5. Developing with iOS 6 and Safari 6

Terence Pae

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Comments

  • I use the full blown jQuery library for mobile apps because most smartphones can handle it. Now, if Resig and the bunch release something that’s optimized, I can’t wait to take it for a spin.

    Think I’ll tinker with this alpha myself.
    Great write-up, by the way!

  • i too use it for mobile applications that are used in my mobile

  • Any thoughts on which might be better, JQuery Mobile vs Sencha Touch. I just download Sencha Touch and it is huge to say the least. A little intimidating at first glance. I have used JQuery a bit and really like it. So I kind of hope JQuery Mobile turns out to be the better of the two, at least for my purposes. Curious to see what others think about Sencha.

  • @Dwight Vietzke, Although I hate to say this, but Sencha Touch doesn’t support Blackberry OS. JQuery Mobile is extending support for legacy devices, while Sencha Touch primarily focuses on Android and iOS. I can’t say the technical differences between the two, but if you need to extend support for legacy devices, jQuery Mobile is the way to go.

  • [Sencha guy] – Blackberry and meego support is coming in Sencha Touch 1.1 (we just released the final version of Sencha Touch 1.0) and it’s now free to download and use.

    (That said, these direct comparisons are a little beside the point. Sencha Touch is a JavaScript-centric framework for building Apps – if you’re just looking to make a web-site look good on mobile phones, jQuery mobile is a great option)

  • Eight months later it’s still in alpha.. so much for that 1.0 release in January.

  • Yeah I think they didn’t realize what is involved with building a rich mobile platform for a plethora of devices. But their improvements are nothing to laugh at.

  • I researched a lot but finally found something useful.
    Got a clearer idea,

    If I want the app to be fully web based and no native, I will have to resort to sencha otherwise, if only UI is concerned, I can go for JQueryMobile

    http://www.the4thdimension.net/2011/07/sencha-touch-vs-jquerymobile.html

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