I’ve been trying out the new 1.3.0 beta version (unstable release) of jQuery Mobile. I have to say, it has a lot of nice stuff in it. Still a bit buggy in my experience, but I’m still quite impressed.
Most exciting feature? Panels
Now you can have panels of content slide from the left or right of the screen based on clicks, swipes, buttons, or any other event. It finally solves the problem of long navigation menus without needing to custom code stuff (which is the point of jQuery Mobile in the first place).
The whole release is focused on building for responsive design. It’s quite difficult these days to really account for what kind of screens people are accessing your site on. With the release of devices like the iPad Mini, there really is a need for true responsive and fluid design. No longer can we really do with one or two breakpoints for “desktop” and “mobile”. We’ve got tablets, small tablets, netbooks, dual monitors, phones, and not to mention the orientation of horizontal vs. vertical on these devices.
Right now I’m in the process of developing a mobile version of a web app we developed last year. For the sake of speed and compatibility we’re going with jQuery Mobile. Since we have a few weeks to finish everything up, we’re pushing it out with 1.3.0. So here’s to hoping it’s at full stable release by our release date!
It’s tricky. On this project we’ve got to consider the a) public-facing website, the b) web app itself, and c) the mobile version (which does most, but not all of what the web app does). We’ve taken the approach of letting the mobile and desktop versions of the app talk to each other. When you’re on a page in the desktop version and you click “mobile site” in the footer, the system switches you to a similar page in the mobile site. Kind of interesting.
But what this all means is that there are 3 designs, 3 CSS files, and 3 sets of data and screenshots to update anytime anything changes. As time goes on we’re talking about combining the web app and mobile app to one responsive design. But one of the things we’re running up against is the amount of data that is served up to the user. We’ve got a few areas of the app that pull in large amounts of data to sort through and add to their account. For mobile devices this has to be completely re-configured so we don’t drain the data plan or waste the user’s time.
Just a bit of rambling, but that’s where I’m at with responsive design and jQuery Mobile in general.