Development Update – Week of July 25th, 2011

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Beta 2: Coming early next week

We’re completing final testing now for a release of Beta 2 early next week. We’re really excited about all the improvements and bug fixes we’ve landed in the last month and can’t wait for this to be released. We’ll keep everyone updated on Twitter as we get closer to the release.

In case you’re wondering what it takes to test jQuery Mobile, here is a sneak peek at us testing the DOM cache changes on just a subset of our more popular mobile devices. This less than half of our test library. One fun tool that we’ve been using recently is Scott’s cool Drive-in tool that lets you drive a browser on one device and all the others will follow along as you navigate around. It uses long polling so some fo these devices wander off course pretty quickly, but it’s really helpful when testing certain features.

New DOM cache management: On by default

Since animated page transitions require that the page you’re on and the one you’re transitioning to are both in the DOM, we add pages to the DOM as you navigate around. Until now, those pages would continue to stay in the DOM until you did a full page refresh so there was always a concern that we could hit a memory ceiling on some devices and cause the browser to slow down or even crash.

This week, we added a simple mechanism to keep the DOM tidy. It works like this: whenever a page is loaded in via Ajax, it is flagged for removal from the DOM once you navigate away to another page (technically, on pagehide). If you return to a deleted page, the browser may be able to retrieve the file from it’s cache, or it will re-request it fro the sever if needed. In the case of nested lists, we remove all the pages that make up the nested list once you navigate to a page that’s not part of the list. Pages that are included in a multi-page setup won’t be affected by this feature at all – only pages brought in by Ajax are managed this way by jQuery Mobile.

A new page option called domCache controls whether to leave pages in the DOM as a way to cache them (the way things used to work) or keep the DOM clean and remove hidden pages (the new way). By default, domCache is set to false to keep the DOM size actively managed. If you set this to true, you need to take care to manage the DOM yourself and test thoroughly on a range of devices.

To set the domCache option on an individual pages in order to selectively cache a page, you can either add the data-dom-cache="true" attribute to the page container or set it programmatically like this:

elem.page({ domCache: true });

 
The domCache option can also be set globally. This is how to turn DOM caching back on so it works like it did originally:

$.mobile.page.prototype.options.domCache = true;

 

New global config option: autoInitializePage

For advanced developers who want more control over the initialization sequence of a page, we’ve just added a new autoInitializePage global config option. Setting this to false disables auto-initialization of plugins on page creation to allow developers to manipulate or pre-process markup before manually initializing the page later on. By default, this option is set to true so things work just like they always did.

API documentation: Template ready for volunteers!

We’ve been trying a number of different ideas internally on how to add in more traditional API-style docs to the demos & docs site and have a proposed solution that essentially adds a simple tab strip to all the plugin detail pages where we can document the options, methods and events that a more technical developer might need. We’ve tried to strike a balance between presenting the simpler, markup-based approach that a designer may need and the more advanced script-driven details that a developer requires.

We’re looking for volunteers to help us apply this style of docs throughout the rest of the system. To participate, learn more about on how to help us write API docs. Thanks to ovargas27 for already jumping in and lending a hand.

Notable commits this week

Exposed automatic initialization selectors on most widgets – The new option, initSelector is accessed through each of the widget plugins (select, slider, etc.) that expose options through the widget factory. This is used to define the selectors (element types, data roles, etc.) that should be used as the trigger to automatic initialization of each widget plugin. This allows developers to apply auto-initialization in more flexible ways.

Restored degradeInputs page option (issue 2123) – We originally had a degradeInputs option as part of the page plugin that would allows you to find a certain type of form element (say input type=”range”) and degrade it into another type (input type=”number”) either because the browser support is so uneven or if you built a custom enhancement for the primary type (like a custom slider) and you don’t want the native implementation to interfere. Now added back in a decoupled plugin, but the API is the same.

Prevent ‘Unspecified error’ when we use an IFrame on IE9 (issue 2064)  - Add try/catch block to prevent the error. Thanks SamuelKC

jQuery Mobile: Up and Running – Digital early release

O’Reilly has just posted a digital early release version of their forthcoming book “jQuery Mobile: Up and Running” by Maximiliano Firtman. It’s well-written and covers Beta 1 code so it’s really up-to-date for a book. Here’s the description from O’Reilly:

jQuery Mobile: Up and Running teaches you how to create responsive, Ajax-based interfaces that work on tablets as well as smartphones, so you don’t have to rebuild everything for different platforms. You don’t need programming skills or previous experience with jQuery or HTML5 to get started. This book shows you exactly what you need to know.

  • Understand how jQuery Mobile, HTML5, and CSS3 work on smartphones and tablets
  • Build a single project for a variety of platforms, including iOS, Android, BlackBerry, Firefox, webOS, and Internet Explorer
  • Convert web content built with jQuery Mobile into apps ready for sale and distribution in every application store
  • Learn how to create HTML5 semantic code prepared for mobile and tablet devices
  • Work with jQuery Mobile components, form elements, list views, and themes

Plugin spotlight: Mobiscroll

If you’re looking for a spinner-style date and time picker that works with jQuery Mobile, check out the new mobiscroll plugin. It has a really slick looking interface and is built to be easily themeable (though I don’t believe it uses the jQuery Mobiel theme framework). This widget supports selecting dates, times and seems easily configurable for custom picker situations. It works with both touch input and mouse/scrollwheel input. Best of all, it is tested in iOS4, Android 2.2, Android 2.3, Chrome, Safari, and Firefox. Check out the project homepage, documentation and demo pages to learn more or download a zip of the code to give it a try.

Get the latest builds on the jQuery CDN

To take advantage of the daily improvements happening in jQuery Mobile, be sure to check out out the new daily and latest builds that are now available on the jQuery CDN for hotlinking. This allows you to upgrade to the latest code without waiting for the next official release. Here are the three files to include in the head of your page to always be viewing the latest in Git:

<link href="http://code.jquery.com/mobile/latest/jquery.mobile.min.css" rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" />
<script src="http://code.jquery.com/jquery-1.6.2.min.js"></script>
<script src="http://code.jquery.com/mobile/latest/jquery.mobile.min.js"></script>

If you just want to do a quick preview of our latest progress, visit www.jquerymobile.com/test to see a live demo of the docs synced every minute to the jQuery Mobile GitHub repo. This is helpful to check before filing an issue in the tracker to see if we’ve already fixed a bug you see in the last stable release. Please keep in mind that this the unstable, development version so we don’t recommend linking to the latest in a production site or app but it’s great for development and testing.

Development Update – Week of July 18th, 2011

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Beta 2 very soon, Beta 3 in the wings

As you can see from the last few blog posts, we’ve been making some big improvements under the covers to make the library more extensible, robust and performant in addition to adding some nice developer tools as we go. At this stage, we are going to focus on final testing for the current feature set so we can release Beta 2 in the next week or so.

We still have a number of important improvements that we feel are critical to land but don’t want to hold up Beta 2, so we’ve decided to move these into third beta release. In Beta 3, we will be adding a few items that we haven’t had time to completely test and bullet-proof yet like DOM size management, pushState support and extensibility hooks for developers. The improved cross-browser page transitions are close to landing, but we’re not yet sure whether they will make it in for Beta 2 or 3 at this point.

This additional beta will push out our project 1.0 release by a few weeks, but we feel that these improvements are critical to making our first major release a success. Now, onto the things we’ve been working on this week!

Page wrapper: Now optional

The framework is now more flexible with document structure so now the data-role=page wrapper element is optional. This will ease integration with existing sites, as well as mashups with external content. Previously, if you didn’t wrap your page in a container with this role, the framework wouldn’t enhance the page widgets but now it doesn’t need a page wrapper in the markup to trigger initialization.

The page, header, content, and footer data-role elements have always been optional, but now with this page wrapper change, there is no required markup at all - just start building you page content. Here is an example of a page with none of these structural elements in the markup and everything works great.

Behind the scenes, the framework will inject the page wrapper if you don’t include it in the markup because it’s needed for managing pages, but the starting markup can now be extremely simple. Note that in a multi-page setup, you are required to have page wrappers in your markup in order to group the content into multiple pages.

Widgets: Now decoupled for flexible builds

We’ve wanted to decouple all our widgets from the page plugin for a long time now and we’re happy to announce that we just landed this change. So what exactly does decoupled mean anyway? Well, the individual widgets and utilities have always been broken out into separate script files. However, the page plugin was responsible for handling the auto-initialization all of the official plugins found in the markup at page creation. This situation made it impossible to remove plugins you don’t need without causing errors, and generally set a bad precedent for future widget additions.

Now, pretty much all the widgets in the jQuery Mobile library are completely decoupled so they can simply be deleted if not needed for a particular project. This change allows you to dramatically reduce the size of the library by only including the specific set of widgets or features you need, in addition to the handful of required, core files. While we still plan to do more decoupling and cleanup, the following files are now decoupled and can safely be removed from the make file before you do a custom build:

  • page sections (header/content/footer, previously in page plugin)
  • collapsible
  • controlgroup
  • fieldcontain
  • fixheaderfooter
  • button
  • checkboxradio
  • select
  • slider
  • textinput
  • links (ordinary link theming previously in page plugin)
  • listview
  • navbar
  • grid

We will work on a dependency map because a few widgets rely on others to work. For example, the button markup plugin is called by many of the widgets above, so it can only be excluded but if you’re not using any of the widgets that depend on buttons.

We’re still working out our recommendations for mapping plugin dependencies and decoupling things even further. Ultimately, this will be surfaced in a download builder tool, so stay tuned!

New “create” event: Easily enhance all widgets at once

While the page plugin no longer calls each plugin specifically, it does dispatch a “pagecreate” event, which most widgets use to auto-initialize themselves. As long as a widget plugin script is referenced, it will automatically enhance any instances of the widgets it finds on the page, just like before. For example, if the selectmenu plugin is loaded, it will enhance any selects it finds within a newly created page.

This structure now allows us to add a new create event that can be triggered on any element, saving you the task of manually initializing each plugin contained in that element. Until now, if a developer loaded in content via Ajax or dynamically generated markup, they needed to manually initialize all contained plugins (listview button, select, etc.) to enhance the widgets in the markup.

Now, our handy create event will initialize all the necessary plugins within that markup, just like how the page creation enhancement process works. If you were to use Ajax to load in a block of HTML markup (say a login form), you can trigger create to automatically transform all the widgets it contains (inputs and buttons in this case) into the enhanced versions. The code for this scenario would be:

$( ...new markup that contains widgets... ).appendTo( ".ui-page" ).trigger( "create" );

Create vs. refresh: An important distinction

Note that there is an important difference between the create event and refresh method that some widgets have. The create event is suited for enhancing raw markup that contains one or more widgets. The refresh method that some widgets have should be used on existing (already enhanced) widgets that have been manipulated programmatically and need the UI be updated to match.

For example, if you had a page where you dynamically appended a new unordered list with data-role=listview attribute after page creation, triggering create on a parent element of that list would transform it into a listview styled widget. If more list items were then programmatically added, calling the listview’s refresh method would update just those new list items to the enhanced state and leave the existing list items untouched.

Notable commits

Updated Valencia theme to match new CSS syntax (issue 2087) – After our request for help on this, and Mayank Varia came through with an update for this theme so thanks!

Error in new page.sections js when data-add-back-btn=”true” on page (issue 2119) -Fixed a problem when pages have the data-add-back-btn set to true causing an error. Thanks jgable!

Email input type doesn’t receive input field styles (issue 2117) –  When using email as the input type for an input field, jQuery Mobile does not correctly enhance them post-decoupling. Thanks commadelimited! Also fixed URL and tel input types for the same regression.

Hide loading message for loadPage should be to not show the loading message – It’s default use case is to fetch a page that is not yet active so this is distracting. However, changePage should cause it to show because loadPage is being called during a page change. This was causing the loader to show when using the new page precache option.

Get the latest builds on the jQuery CDN

To take advantage of the daily improvements happening in jQuery Mobile, be sure to check out out the new daily and latest builds that are now available on the jQuery CDN for hotlinking. This allows you to upgrade to the latest code without waiting for the next official release.

Here are the three files to include in the head of your page to always be viewing the latest in Git:

<link href="http://code.jquery.com/mobile/latest/jquery.mobile.min.css" rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" />
<script src="http://code.jquery.com/jquery-1.6.2.min.js"></script>
<script src="http://code.jquery.com/mobile/latest/jquery.mobile.min.js"></script>

 

Please keep in mind that this the unstable, development version so we don’t recommend linking to the latest in a production site or app but it’s great for development and testing.

Development Update – Week of July 11th, 2011

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New test device donations!

We’d like to thank a number of companies who really came through this week for the project by donating a fresh batch of devices to the test lab here at Filament Group. This week, we’d like to take the time to thank HP Palm, Nokia and Grupo.Mobi for donating devices to the project. Here’s the rundown:

  • TouchPad – This is a cool tablet running the latest Palm WebOS 3.0 software. Early testing indicates that CSS support is really improved from WebOS 2.0 so the pages render cleanly and look great. We have a few small tweaks to make, mostly focused on the positioning of toolbars, menus and loader but we’re in great shape otherwise. Orientation changes don’t seem to trigger a re-flow of the layout so pages zoom instead of adjsuting to the screen width, but maybe this will be fixed in an update. We really hope that Palm HP roll the browser improvements into the WebOS 2.0 because that version has fairly serious CSS rendering issues.
  • Nokia N8 – We’ve been waiting to get a newer Nokia device and we were pleasantly surprised that jQuery Mobile renders really quite well on this slick little phone. The biggest gotcha is that the S60 based browsers (including this latest phone) don’t correctly add hashchange changes in the history stack in the browser so the Back button doesn’t work with our Ajax navigation. We were hoping this would have been fixed by now, but it looks like we’ll have to bump this platform down to B grade support which translates to a fully enhanced experience, except without Ajax navigation (full page refreshes and no transitions).
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 – This is our first device running the Android Honeycomb OS and it’s a very nice device — very lightweight and responsive.  The jQuery Mobile demos and docs seem work render and work great on this device, no big surprises. CSS based transitions are still pretty chunky but rounded corners are finally anti-aliased. We are truly living in the future. Donated by Grupo.Mobi
  • Google Nexus S – We finally have a phone running Android 2.3 so we can finally ditch the emulators. So far, 2.3 looks great, no major snags and really great rendering performance, smooth scrolling and a very responsive screen. A very nice device. Donated by Grupo.Mobi

The jQuery Mobile project relies on the generous donation of devices, developer time and financial support from individual developers and companies to continue our work so if you can help out, please contact the project lead, Todd Parker, for more details.

Gradients: Expanded platform support

We just added additional vendor-prefixed rules for CSS3 background gradients to increase browser support of this feature. There are now Opera (-o) and Internet Explorer (-ms) prefixed gradient rules in addition to the standard, non-prefixed version. Thanks to Paul Irish CCS3 Please for the slick formatting ideas for these rules:


background-image: -webkit-linear-gradient(top, #3c3c3c, #111); /* Chrome 10+, Saf5.1+ */
background-image:    -moz-linear-gradient(top, #3c3c3c, #111); /* FF3.6 */
background-image:     -ms-linear-gradient(top, #3c3c3c, #111); /* IE10 */
background-image:      -o-linear-gradient(top, #3c3c3c, #111); /* Opera 11.10+ */
background-image:         linear-gradient(top, #3c3c3c, #111); /* Standard, non-prefixed */

This now means that our background gradients work in WebKit, Firefox, Opera, Internet Explorer 10 and any other browser that supports the standard, non-prefixed rule. As we mentioned in last week’s post, we had to remove the -ms filter gradient rules due to a rendering issue in IE9 that conflicts with border radius and won’t be fixed by Microsoft. This means that older versions of IE will just see a flat background color, including WP7 and the forthcoming Mango release. More info on this bug and decision can be found at issue #2046.

We’re looking for a volunteer to roll this new syntax into the Valencia theme so please comment in the issue if interested.

Loading message: Now configurable at runtime

Previously, you could customize the loading text message on initialization as an option, but you couldn’t modify it on the fly from within a page if you wanted a different message for the particular situation. We just landed an improvement so you can set the contents of the loading message programmatically at runtime. The syntax is the same as it’s always been, you can just use it more flexibly:

$.mobile.loadingMessage = "My custom message!";

Configurable swipe event thresholds added

There were a number of hard-coded constants in the jquery.mobile.event.js swipe code. For developers who need to tweak those constants  to allow a greater vertical displacement and still register a swipe, this new feature allows them to be adjusted. Thanks to mlitwin for contributing this.

  • scrollSupressionThreshold (default: 10px) – More than this horizontal displacement, and we will suppress scrolling
  • durationThreshold (default: 1000ms) – More time than this, and it isn’t a swipe
  • horizontalDistanceThreshold (default: 30px) – Swipe horizontal displacement must be more than this.
  • verticalDistanceThreshold (default: 75px) – Swipe vertical displacement must be less than this.

Page pre-fetch page option added

Another cool feature we just added is the ability to flag pages that should be pre-fetched by Ajax. For example, if you’re building a photo gallery with each photo on a separate HTML page, you can pre-fetch the previous and next pages in the slideshow sequence so they will display immediately without the Ajax loader. It’s simple to use: just add a data-prefetch attribute to any link in the page and the framework will lazy load the pages into the DOM in the background. We recommend building your apps as a series of individual, linked HTML documents for each page for performance yet we see a lot of people using multi-page templates and even nested lists (yikes) as a way to essentially pre-load content. We hope this feature will encourage developers to use standalone, external pages with selective pre-caching instead of relying as much on multi-page setups.

<a href="foo/bar/baz" data-prefetch>link text</a>

Pages can also be pre-fetched programmatically by calling $.mobile.loadpage( url ). Pre-fetching links will naturally cause additional HTTP requests that may never be used, so it’s important to use this feature only in situations where it’s highly likely that a page will be visited.

Coming soon in Beta 2

We’re hoping to land the following changes next week in preparation for Beta 2. Here’s a sneak peek so you can test out these branches and give us feedback.

Expanded browser support for transitions

Our original page transitions were based on jQTouch and they are really quite nice. Unfortunately, these were built with CSS keyframe animations that only work in iOS, WebOS and Android.  Since we released Alpha 1, a number of browsers have added support for CSS transitions so we’re working now on switching over to CSS transitions. We will be addingd vendor-prefixed CSS rules for Opera, Firefox, and Webkit so it makes the CSS a bit heavier but brings animated page transitions to a wider range of platforms and browsers. Follow our progress on the issue page and check out the transitions branch to test drive the new transitions in action.

Automatic DOM size management

Since jQuery Mobile loads multiple pages into the DOM via Ajax to enable the animated page transition, we’ve obviously been concerned about memory use as people navigate through a series of pages. We’re working on adding a feature to keep the DOM clean and manageable and it works like this: if a page is brought into the DOM via Ajax, it is removed from the DOM when the page is hidden (transitioned out). If you want to return to this page, the browser retrieve the cached version and load that in instead of re-requesting it so we’re leveraging the native browser’s capabilities to manage memory use. Note that pages loaded as part of a multi-page template won’t be removed, only external pages loaded in via Ajax. This feature will be turned on by default, but can be configured via an option. Specific pages can be protected from removal by adding a data- attribute the page container. View the commit for this feature and give it a try out the disable-ajax-dom-caching branch and give us feedback.

Delayed auto-init

This change allows developers to delay the auto-init call until whenever they want to call it manually. This is useful when building dynamic applications. Read the commit message and preview the autoinit-option branch to give it a try.

Notable commits this week

Fix for URL handing in navigation with relative URLs – Now you can call $.mobile.loadPage with a relative path and it will load the page correctly, regardless of whatever page you are linking from.

Removed the nonHistorySelectors option, which was no longer in use after the nav refactor.

Fix for rounded corners in collapsible Set (issue #1931) - The first section in a collapsible set has rounded bottom corners when not expanded (shouldn’t have .ui-corner-bottom class), and the last section does not have rounded corners when collapsed (should have .ui-corner-bottom class). Thanks beatryder!

Checkbox list with same name do not allow multiple selection (issue #1851) - The checkboxradio plugin treats a check box list with same value for the name attribute for the check boxes as radio buttons. Thanks Tigbro!

Rounded corner login for inset lists  with two items (issue 1996) - The top corner style doesn’t get applied in an inset list with two items (other number of items work fine). Thanks eugenb1!

Close button behavior fixes (Issues #1618#1692,#1750)- Abstracted out some of the page hide behavior to fix issues with the close button not returning focus to the button after closing. Also fixes an issue where a full page custom menu would open as a misplaced small custom menu the second time it opens (if the menu was closed via the custom close button).

Changed padding-box to padding for -moz-background-clip per this spec

Slider onChange event is launched on page load (issue #1526) - the onChange event was triggered when the page loads  instead of only when the slider’s value is changed.

Disappearing text in IE7 (issue #2058) – Text would only appear on mouseover in certain circumstances due to a rendering bug in IE (shocker!). Fixed by adding the zoom: hack.

New Packt book: jQuery Mobile First Look

There is a lot of excitement about jQuery Mobile and we’re happy to see so many books coming out, even though we’re still in Beta. Packt Publishing has a nice overview of the framework in their new book:  ”jQuery Mobile First Look” which is available now. Here’s what it covers:

  • Easily create your mobile web applications from scratch with jQuery Mobile
  • Learn the important elements of the framework and mobile web development best practices
  • Customize elements and widgets to match your desired style
  • Step-by-step instructions on how to use jQuery Mobile
  • eBook available as PDF and ePub downloads and also on PacktLib

Interesting articles

In case you don’t follow @jquerymobile on Twitter, here are some great new tutorials and articles on jQuery Mobile we’ve seen this week:

Using and customizing jQuery Mobile themes – Adobe Developer

How to style buttons with jQuery Mobile – O’Reilly Answers

jQuery Mobile in Visualforce pages – Salesforce.com Force blog

jQuery Mobile – adding Local Storage - Raymond Camden’s ColdFusion Blog

Building a jQuery Mobile HTML5 App with PhoneGap for Drupal 7, Part 2 – Jeff Linwood

How to create and self-init a jQuery Mobile plugin – Gist by Scott Jehl

Blackberry Contest

jQuery Mobile works great on the the new PlayBook tablet so this is a great opportunity to win some cool prizes. Are you creating an innovative BlackBerry WebWorks app using the jQuery Mobile framework for the BlackBerry PlayBook or BlackBerry Smartphone or thinking about jumping in?  There’s never been a better time with big prizes up for grabs in the Most Innovative BlackBerry WebWorks app on the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet and BlackBerry 6 challenge!

 

Get the latest builds on the jQuery CDN

To take advantage of the daily improvements happening in jQuery Mobile, be sure to check out out the new daily and latest builds that are now available on the jQuery CDN for hotlinking. This allows you to upgrade to the latest code without waiting for the next official release.

Here are the three files to include in the head of your page to always be viewing the latest in Git:

<link href="http://code.jquery.com/mobile/latest/jquery.mobile.min.css" rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" />
<script src="http://code.jquery.com/jquery-1.6.2.min.js"></script>
<script src="http://code.jquery.com/mobile/latest/jquery.mobile.min.js"></script>

 

Please keep in mind that this the unstable, development version so we don’t recommend linking to the latest in a production site or app but it’s great for development and testing.

Development Update – Week of July 4th, 2011

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Improvements on deck for beta 2

We have a bunch of improvements that we’re working to land for beta 2 which is slated for release in about 2 weeks. Here are a few key features that we’re excited about adding. Each of these is in a branch for testing so let us know what you think:

  • Expanded browser support for animated page transitions - we’re working now on switching over to CSS transitions (from Webkit-only keyframe animations) and adding vendor-prefixed CSS rules for Opera and Firefox. View issue page and preview the “transitions” branch to test drive them now.
  • DOM size management feature - We’re working on adding a feature that will remove pages loaded in into the DOM via Ajax when the page is hidden (transitioned out). If you want to return to this page, the browser may be able to retrieved the cached version and load that in instead of re-requesting it so we’re leveraging the native browser’s capabilities to manage memory use. View the commit for this feature and give it a preview the “disable-ajax-dom-caching” branch.
  • Pre-fetch page feature - Another very cool feature we’re working on is the ability to flag pages that should be pre-fetched by Ajax. For example, if you’re building a photo gallery with each photo on a separate HTML page, you can pre-fetch the previous and next pages in the slideshow sequence so they will display immediately without the Ajax loader. By adding a data-prefetch attribute to any anchor element in the page and the framework will lazy load the pages into the DOM in the background. View the commit for this feature and preview in the “prefetch” branch.

We hope to land these in master next week after we complete testing. After beta 2 is out, we have a even more improvements in the pipeline: pushstate support, more extensible navigation model, self-initializing widgets and more.

IE9/WP7 Mango: Removing gradient support

The jQuery Mobile framework uses CSS-based gradients to reduce our need for images to make pages load faster. We support the various vendor-prefixed gradient syntaxes for Webkit and Firefox and will soon be adding Opera prefixed rules too. In addition, we currently include the -ms-filter syntax to support gradients in IE 8/9.

In preparation for the upcoming WP7 Mango update (based on the IE9 rendering engine), we were doing gradient testing and found some disappointing results: In both IE 9 and Mango, the -ms-filter gradient rules have serious rendering issues when combined with rounded corners, causing the background color of the element to break out of the corner radius (see screenshot). We’ve discussed this with Microsoft and the browser team won’t be fixing this rendering issue because the filter syntax is deprecated as they are moving to the standard CSS gradient syntax for IE 10.

So we’re left with a tough choice: if we leave the -ms-filter gradient rules in our CSS so gradients look good in IE 8, it will seriously degrade the experience in IE 9/Mango with rounded corners. At this time, we are planning on removing -ms-filter gradient rules so IE 8/9 and Mango will display flat background colors throughout the UI. This will enable rounded corners to display cleanly in IE 9/Mango (IE 7/8 don’t support border-radius). We think this is the best course of action and places us in a better position for the future.

Plugin developers: Widget template

If you are creating jQuery Mobile plugins, you can make it easy on users by following similar patterns to the core widgets: use the UI widget factory and auto-initialize your widget by data- attributes on page creation. To help everyone out, we created a simple gist showing how to set up a jQuery Mobile widget.

Help support the project

We’re always looking for help and support since we’re a very small team with limited resources.

  • Donate test devices – we’re looking to expand out test lab so we’re looking for more smartphones and tablets. We especially need Nokia, Samsung Bada, new Palm WebOS 3.0 devices, and Android devices. If you have contacts at manufacturers you can connect us with, we’d appreciate that too
  • Donate developer time – we are looking for dedicated developers that can help us fix bugs, write unit tests and documentation.
  • Donate funds – individuals can donate to the jQuery project and we’re looking for corporate sponsorship to support the project.

Please contact Todd Parker to start up a conversation on how you can help the project. We appreciate your support!

Thanks to Group.Mobi: New test device donations

We’d like to thank Terence Reis and the rest of the Grupo.Mobi team for their generous donation this week of a new Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 and Android 2.3 phone for our test lab. Grupo.Mobi specializes in mobile app, game and site development, advertising and marketing for a broad range of top-tier companies. We really appreciate their help and support!

 

Notable Commits this week

XSS risk with XHR level2 cross domain request (issue #1990) - jQuery mobile can load other domain’s html so there is a security risk, as it can XSS or display fake contents. Created new option for $.mobile.ajaxCrossDomainEnabled and set the default to false

Updated latest build to use 1.6.2 – In the demos & docs pages.

Get the latest builds on the jQuery CDN

To take advantage of the daily improvements happening in jQuery Mobile, be sure to check out out the new daily and latest builds that are now available on the jQuery CDN for hotlinking. This allows you to upgrade to the latest code without waiting for the next official release.

Here are the three files to include in the head of your page to always be viewing the latest in Git:

<link href="http://code.jquery.com/mobile/latest/jquery.mobile.min.css" rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" />
<script src="http://code.jquery.com/jquery-1.6.2.min.js"></script>
<script src="http://code.jquery.com/mobile/latest/jquery.mobile.min.js"></script>

 

Please keep in mind that this the unstable, development version so we don’t recommend linking to the latest in a production site or app but it’s great for development and testing.

 

Development Update – Week of June 27th, 2011

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The overall response to the Beta 1 release has been very positive and we appreciate all the words of encouragement we’ve heard on our progress to date. As with any major release, there are bound to a be a few snags so let’s start off with the one major problem we’ve seen: click handling on links.

Beta 1: Issues with vclick for handling links

In Beta 1, we switched to using our custom vclick event for handling Ajax links to improve responsiveness and this change seemed to help hide the URL bar consistently on the iPhone and Android phones. The vclick feature is a custom synthetic event that normalizes events by listening for touch and click events. It works at the document level and looks for duplicate events on the same target and will go with the one that bubbles up first and cancels the duplicate event.

Even though we did quite a bit of testing before landing this for Beta 1, we began to hear feedback that this change was causing some significant issues out in the wild including:

  • Multiple click events causing navigation and form element issue – In certain situations, when tapping an element, tap/click events seem to fire twice on links and is due to edge cases where the target of the touch event and mouse event don’t match due to how the browsers calculate tolerances for these events. This is most pronounced on Android  2.1 but affects most WebKit-based browsers when you tap near the edge of an element.
  • Click handlers in custom scripts didn’t “work” anymore – if a script binds only to click events on the document, the vclick feature could interfere because the touch events may supercede these click events so it won’t appear to trigger.
  • Disabling vclick globally didn’t work – To compound the issue, we had recommended using a new $.mobile.useFastClick option to disable the vclick feature globally but there was an issue with this option in Beta 1 that prevented this from working as designed.

Our solution: Roll back from vclick to click globally

Based on a lot of detailed testing and analysis, we’ve decided to roll back to using standard click events on links instead of vclick because it’s the only reliable way to support all our target browsers. If you test on the latest builds with this change integrated, things should work reliably again. There are two important things to note in this change:

  • URL bar hiding isn’t quite as slick as in Beta 1, but link handling is obviously much more important. The good news is that there is still a significant improvement from Alpha 4.1: although URL bar may appear briefly it overlays the page in iOS instead of pushing down content and causing a re-draw blink. We methodically tried every technique we could to keep the URL bar hidden but there is unfortunately a Safari bug (even in the latest Beta 2 of iOS 5) that makes it impossible to hide the bar reliably.
  • The useFastClick option is now removed in the latest code because we’re not using vclick globally anymore on links and don’t recommend doing this going forward. We hardly knew ye…

Checkboxes and Radio buttons: New, Simpler design

Now onto fun fun stuff: the previous design for checkboxes or radio buttons highlighted the entire button background to the active state. We’ve wanted to tweak this for some time because having the full button switch tothe active state could be a bit overwhelming visually, especially on a check list with multiple items selected.

To make these controls a bit simpler visually and also fall in-line with standard UI conventions, now just the check or radio form element flips to the active state instead of the whole button. Note that the horizontal, grouped check and radio groups still flip the while label to the active state color because we hide the form element in these cases.

All code formatting: Cleaned up & JSlint-ready

Thanks to an intense 24 hour sprint by Rick Waldron of Bocoup, all our code formatting now conforms with with the jQuery core styleguide for whitespace and organization. This also makes the library work with JSLint and other validation tools.

Next major release: Beta 2

We’re working on some exciting additions to the library including broader transition support, pushState and more. For the near term, we’re going to target the Beta 2 release within the next 2 weeks to get these click changes and other improvements into the stable release so the pace of releases will start being much more frequent.

Notable Commits this week

Switch back to processing link clicks on the “click” event because it really is the only reliable way across all the devices we support. Fixes any of the double click events, missed clicks or click event not being processed. Also, removed the useFastClick option and documentation references since using vclick isn’t a workable solution for links.

mobile.changePage not working on BB5 (issue #1907)- multi-page docs don’t work, and clicking a link cause a ”page is too large” error. The fix for this was to tweak the regex related.

Fix for the mysterious “page is too large” error on Blackberry 5 prior to beta 1. Turns out this little code was enough to invoke the error: ”/dir1/dir2″.replace(/\/?/, “”); Rewrote the regexp in path.makePathAbsolute() that was stripping leading slash, and trailing filename/slash. This gets around the problem. Special thanks to @adambiggs for helping us test 33 iterations when trying to narrow down the cause!

Fixed form buttons no longer submit forms in Internet Explorer 8 -

Corrected corner styling issue with listview refresh on growing lists (issue #1470) – If list items were appended and the refresh() method called, the correct corners were not being assigned.

Fixed incorrectly calculated path of forms (issue #1923)- Added code to calculate whether to choose the documentUrl or the page Url in the case where an action is not specified on a form element. Fixed bug in the navigation “submit” handler where an error was being thrown if “type” was not specified.

Hitting enter in search filter now doesn’t not submit the form – Since this is a client-side filter, we want to prevent submitting the form. Thanks adamvaughan

Remove unnecessary ajax call and duplicate DOM nodes when refreshing a page with a dialog visible (issue #1913) - This was causing duplicate dialog elements inthe DOM. Thanks Sunpig!

Controlgroup now filters on visible buttons when adding first and last classes for rounded corners. If you hide the first or last button in a controlgroup and then call refresh on it, it won’t add the right classes to the newly promoted first/last button.

Removed param “refresh” sent to .controlgroup since it’s not a $.widget

Tweaked styles for select menu text running off side of list – Seen when using the custom select menus only

Updated Valencia theme for the updated check and radio styles

Fixed swatch letter typo for E button in theme CSS (Issue #1894)- it said ui-bar-d instead of ui-bar-e. . Thanks app42!

Moved collapsible sets (accordions) in docs into a standalone page for better visibility, updated section nav on other pages and index page to link to it.

Moved our form binding into the _registerInternalEvents callback, to ensure it’s not bound until after mobilinit.

Removed vclick + click combined event binding (issue #1870), which was in there as a workaround for a not-consistently-occurring bug in Android 2.1. I think the real issue is related to lack of dynamic base tag support, and that occasionally, a relative href click will use default handling in 2.1 and go where it shouldn’t (ignoring the base href). Either way, this double binding causes history problems in Safari, so I’m removing it while we search for a better 2.1 workaround.

Pinehead.tv Tutorial Videos

For a good intro on using jQuery Mobile, check out these video tutorials on Pinehead.tv. Examples include:

O’Reilly book on jQuery Mobile released

jQuery Mobile Book

A new book on jQuery Mobile from O’Reilly written by Jon Reid is now available for purchase. View book details. Description from the site:

The future belongs to mobile web apps that function on a broad range of smartphones and tablets. Get started with jQuery Mobile, the touch-optimized web framework for creating apps that look and behave consistently across many devices. This concise book provides HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript code examples, screen shots, and step-by-step guidance to help you build a complete working app with jQuery Mobile.

Get the latest builds on the jQuery CDN

To take advantage of the daily improvements happening in jQuery Mobile, be sure to check out out the new daily and latest builds that are now available on the jQuery CDN for hotlinking. This allows you to upgrade to the latest code without waiting for the next official release.

Here are the three files to include in the head of your page to always be viewing the latest in Git:

<link href="http://code.jquery.com/mobile/latest/jquery.mobile.min.css" rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" />
<script src="http://code.jquery.com/jquery-1.6.1.min.js"></script>
<script src="http://code.jquery.com/mobile/latest/jquery.mobile.min.js"></script>

 

Please keep in mind that this the unstable, development version so we don’t recommend linking to the latest in a production site or app but it’s great for development and testing.