There has been much cross-over between web development and application development in recent years. The biggest trend being the increase in web-based applications.
Whilst many would argue that it’s the rise of the cloud, and of faster internet connections, that have made this possible; it’s actually the rise of the mobile web that has made it desirable.
Coding a web application to run smoothly on a mobile device is a challenge for any developer. The focus is, understandably on Android and iOS, but this week jqMobi became the first Mobile HTML5 framework to directly target Windows Phone 8.
Built specifically for smartphones jqMobi is extremely light (just 5kb) and features jQuery-style selectors and plugins. It is used by tens of thousands of mobile web apps, and that number is only likely to increase now that IE is supported.
The problem, as it stands, is that whilst all browser manufacturers agree that standards-compliance is a good thing, they are all at different stages of implementation; each browser manufacturer prioritizes different aspects of the agreed specification.
A great example is multiple columns. Because of patchy support in some versions the CSS
will only work in a few browsers. To increase the likelihood of the CSS being supported we have to include browser prefixes, so the code becomes:
-moz-column-count:2; -webkit-column-count:2; column-count:2;
(Opera have already implemented column-count on their desktop browser but not even a browser prefix version on their mobile offering.)
But because mobile frameworks need to reduce size, the tendency is to restrict support to just webkit (due to the prevalence of Chrome and Safari):
Because IE10 introduces support for column-count without the need to prepend a browser prefix the only addition required is the standards-compliant non-prefix version:
This means support can be extended without heavy kb overheads, and brings the additional benefit of future-proofing the code. It’s the commitment of Microsoft to deliver a standards-compliant browser — yes I know, I had to pinch myself too — that has made this possible.
Microsoft’s IE10 browser delivers really good performance that is competitive with the best browsers we’ve seen on Android and iOS. So that means that developers who want to take advantage of jqMobi to deliver iOS, Android, Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 apps can give their users an identically fantastic experience across all four device platforms. — Ian Maffett, jqMobi lead developer
The diversification away from Webkit and towards standard-compliance can only be a healthy thing and we expect other frameworks to follow the same route as jqMobi by focusing on working with IE10 in addition to Webkit in the near future. In the meantime, jqMobi looks well worth considering for your next project, and by getting ahead of the game they may well have won a few fans.
Have you tried jqMobi? How did you find it? Let us know in the comments below.
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