DeviceAtlas & jQueryMobile

The first Alpha release of jQueryMobile was announced today, to great fanfare, and the mobile web world is already on fire with the thoughts of what this will mean to them.

A little bit of background…

Originally developed by John Resig, jQueryMobile’s big brother “jQuery” is now in use by pretty much anyone who implements advanced JavaScript capabilities on their site.
It’s packed full of DOM, CSS and event handling features and has a flexible plugin architecture, all of which have helped it to become the JavaScript framework of choice.

jQuery makes it quicker and easier to build JavaScript functionality for everything from simple webpages to complex web applications – all while maintaining cross-browser compatibility.
Its API documumentation makes researching & using it a dream, and its vast plugin library makes it easy to quickly add functionality to your site without reinventing the wheel.


jQueryMobile is the next evolution in JavaScript development.
Web developers worldwide can now use this new JS library to automatically turn their drab old site into an easy to use, touch friendly, attractive web-app that will (in theory) be a pleasure for their end users to visit and interact with.

By way of example, the jQueryMobile Blog post from August 2010 shows some sample interface items, generated by the library to present to the end user.
I’ve also attached a more recent example of the JQM interface with this post.


While it’s still early days in the development of this new mobile library, it’s clear that the direction being taken is one of client-side progressive enhancement (PE).

PE is a double edged sword:

  • On the one hand, you’re happy that you have a touchy-feeling interface being presented to your users that they’re (hopefully) going to absolutely adore
  • On the other, you know that there’s a huge pool of devices out there that simply won’t be able to do what you’re asking them to

And this is before we even consider emerging markets!

Passing the jQueryMobile library to older devices, or to newer devices that aren’t fully web-capable, could be detrimental to your user-experience.

Basically: Progressive Enhancement is no silver bullet to your mobile needs.

Best of both worlds

From 16th October 2010, DeviceAtlas now has an additional propertyjqm_alpha.
This temporary property indicates support for the jQueryMobile alpha release for the devices accessing your site, and will remain available until the launch of the first stable jQueryMobile release, at which time it will be replaced with another more permanent one.

By implementing DeviceAtlas, you can use this property to continue to serve your customers a dedicated mobile experience, but, where applicable, you can also serve the JQM library!

What this means is that by using PE, in combination with accurate server side detection, you can provide your users with the absolute best mobile experience possible.

Now that is an offer you can’t refuse.

If you haven’t already, check out the get-started guide for DeviceAtlas – and don’t forget to sign up for your free Evaluation Licence while you’re at it!


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