Creating web apps and sites for the Mobile Web has its own sets of challenges and techniques. From UIs optimized for fingers instead of mouse cursors to the bandwidth limitations that most portable personal devices have, developing for mobile devices requires a paradigm shift for those of us who’ve traditionally created products aimed at desktops.
- Optimized for touchscreen devices: Fingers as input devices instead of mouse cursors provide an extra set of challenges in user interface design. Mobile web development frameworks provide standard UI elements and event-handling specifically for mobile device platforms.
- Cross-platform: Support for multiple mobile device platforms such iOS and Android allows you to get your app to a wide range of users.
- Lightweight: Because of current bandwidth limitations, a stronger emphasis on lowering file weight is placed into mobile web development frameworks.
- Uses HTML5 and CSS3 standards: Most mainstream mobile devices have web browsers that support HTML5 and CSS3, and so mobile web development frameworks take advantage of new features available in these upcoming W3C specifications for a better user experience.
jQuery Mobile, a framework that will help you rapidly and confidently develop mobile app user interfaces across popular mobile device platforms like iOS and Android, is perhaps the most popular project out there.
The framework boasts a lightweight code base (weighing in at 20KB when minified and gzipped) and a huge bevy of standard user interface elements that mobile device users are accustomed to, such as switches and sliders.
See jQuery Mobile in action by going to its demo page (it doubles as the framework’s official documentation).
If jQuery isn’t your thing, check out MooTools Mobile, a MooTools plugin by MooTools core developer Christoph Pojer and Dojo Mobile, which leverages the Dojo API to help developers rapidly build apps for mobile platforms.
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