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For the Love of Code: jQuery Mobile Finally Here (Kim Gentes/Worship Tech Blog)

If you are in the world of web or app development, the proliferation of devices and platforms in the last few years has been the bane of your existance.  Just when we thought there was 2 browsers taking the hill, 3 more stand up. Now, the field is mashed into 4 very competitive browsers - IE, Firefox, Chrome, Safari (and smaller but still strong in mobile, Opera). Alongside the browser flattening (from just IE/FF), OS platforms have exploded, again especially on the mobile side.  The main proliferations are iOS, Android and Symbian, with some revs of Windows and Blackberry chewing up the remainder of users.

So here is the deal. All those browsers and platforms have changed so significantly, that the underlying technologies have become a mashup of mobile centric functionality (such as touch-screen operation, screen resolution/orientation), HTML5 A/V capabilities and desktop CSS sensibilities (along with web font assets etc). A modern mobile phone has a unique dialect for browsing websites and using its hardware and accessing the datastreams it connects to- notably digital cell phone calls and internet surfing.  Dumbing down the desktop versions of HTML and browsers into a mobile version is no longer an option. iOS and Android (both webkit-based) browsers have forced us to see the world of mobile as unique. In fact, it has pushed back much of the simplicity and elegance demanded of mobile devices back onto the design of desktop via what I call the "iPhonification of websites".  We are seeing web 2.0 (and 3.0) largely with the flavor pushed back onto the desktop world from the success of Apple's mobile i-world.

OK, so that is the set up.  Once we see the mobile world has its separate needs and reasons for requiring a different technology subset, we recognize that perhaps we need a different way of architecting these mobile browser experiences.  For the last 3 years, much of the desktop AJAX experience has been fueled by support from a toolsuit called jQuery. Free, but brilliant and solid software modules that provide a framework for AJAX/Javascript development and function.  And, up until now, people developing for mobile have been cramming jQuery solutions into mobile devices to stay consistent with their server side support.

Life just got a bit clearer. About 10 days ago, the version 1.0 of jQuery Mobile finally released. Initially, this will actually make more work for those software developers who want to support all the platforms that are continuing to proliferate onto the marketplace.  But with the creation of this unique mobile version of jQuery, hope rises for the huge range of sites/apps that rely on jQuery as their mobile solution for an AJAX foundation.

The new jQuery Mobile stands on top of (not in place of) the jQuery core, and reaches into various areas, most notably the touch functionality. Everything from attribute references to PhoneGap update tips are included on jQuery Mobile's flourishing documentation.  Everyone in the app/site space is rushing to support mobile, but none of that is possible (in a good long term way) without platform tools like this being brought to bear in the mobile space.

All you geeks out there can check out jQuery Mobile for yourselves right here.

A big shout out to all the folks in the jQuery cloud that make it all happen.


Kim Gentes

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