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jQuery Mobile

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jQuery Mobile, 9781449306687 (1449306683), O'Reilly, 2011

Mobile applications come in two basic flavors: native applications, which are compiled programs that run natively on the device, and mobile web applications, which run inside a web browser on the device.

Native applications get almost all of the press these days, especially given the financial success of the iTunes App Store and the Android Market. And with good reason, as native applications have many advantages: they are fast, have access to all of the power of the platform they are built for, and so forth. However, native applications suffer from one important limitation: they are not portable. If you want to make your application available on multiple platforms, you either have to write it in multiple languages (resulting in multiple code bases to maintain) or use a platform abstraction layer like Titanium or PhoneGap.

Mobile web applications, on the other hand, are created in HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, and run in the web browser on the mobile device. This means one code base to maintain, but mobile web applications still need to account for variations in web browsers across platforms.

Enter jQuery Mobile. Based on the popular jQuery JavaScript library, jQuery Mobile is designed to create mobile web applications that function on a broad range of devices. With jQuery Mobile, it is possible to quickly create mobile web applications that look and behave consistently across all supported devices, and that have advanced user interface capabilities. jQuery Mobile gives the developer a standard set of layouts, user interface widgets, and interactions, as well as a rich API for applying and extending them.

jQuery Mobile is not yet in production—as of this writing, it is in its Alpha 4 release, with the beta coming soon.

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