In this chapter we will perform the following steps:
Create a simple HTML page
Add jQuery Mobile to the page
Make use of custom data attributes (
Update the HTML to make use of the data attributes that jQuery Mobile recognizes
Let's begin with a simple web page that is not mobile optimized. To be clear, we aren't saying it can't be viewed on a mobile device. Not at all! But it may not be usable on a mobile device. It may be hard to read (text too small). It may be too wide. It may use forms that don't work well on a touch screen. We don't know what kinds of problems we will have at all until we start testing. (And we've all tested our websites on mobile devices to see how well they work, right?)
Let's have a look at the following code snippet:
<h1>Welcome</h1> <p> Welcome to our first mobile web site. It's going to be the best site you've ever seen. Once we get some content. And a business plan. But the hard part is done! </p> <p> <i>Copyright Megacorp© 2013</i> </p> </body> </html>
Not so bad, right? But let's take a look at the same page in a mobile simulator:
Wow, that's pretty tiny. You've probably seen web pages like this before on your mobile device. You can, of course, typically use pinch and zoom or double-click actions to increase the size of the text. But it would be preferable to have the page render immediately in a mobile-friendly view. This is where jQuery Mobile comes in.
In the preface we talked about how jQuery Mobile is just a set of files. That isn't said to minimize the amount of work done to create those files, or how powerful they are, but to emphasize that using jQuery Mobile means you don't have to install any special tools or server. You can download the files and simply include them in your page. And if that's too much work, you have an even simpler solution. jQuery Mobile's files are hosted on a Content Delivery Network (CDN). This is a resource hosted by them and guaranteed (as much as anything like this can be) to be online and available. Multiple sites are already using these CDN hosted files. That means when your users hit your site they may already have the resources in their cache. For this book, we will be making use of the CDN hosted files, but just for this first example we'll download and extract the files we need. I recommend doing this anyway for those times when you're on an airplane and wanting to whip up a quick mobile site.
To grab the files, visit http://jquerymobile.com/download. There are a few options here but you want the ZIP file option. Go ahead and download that ZIP file and extract it. (The ZIP file you downloaded earlier from GitHub has a copy already.) The following screenshot demonstrates what you should see after extracting the files from the ZIP file:
At the time this book was written, jQuery Mobile was preparing for the release of Version 1.4. Obviously, by the time you read this book a later version may have been released. The file names you see listed in the previous screenshot are version specific, so keep in mind they may look a bit different for you.
images folder has five images used by the CSS when generating mobile optimized pages. You will also see demos for the framework as well as theme and structure files (You won't need to use those for this book). So, to be clear, the entire framework and all the features we will be talking about over the rest of the book will consist of a framework of 6 files. Of course, you also need to include the jQuery library. You can download that separately at www.jquery.com. At the time this book was written, the recommended version was 1.9.1.
As a final option for downloading jQuery Mobile, you can also use a customized Download Builder tool at http://jquerymobile.com/download-builder. Currently in Alpha (that is, not certified to be bug-free!), the web-based tool lets you download a jQuery Mobile build minus features your website doesn't need. This creates smaller files which reduces the total amount of time your application needs to display to the end user.
First, add the HTML5
DOCTYPEto the page:
<!DOCTYPE html>. This is used to help inform the browser about the type of content it will be dealing with.
Add a viewport
<metaname="viewport"content="width=device-width,initial-scale="1">. This helps set better defaults for pages when viewed on a mobile device.
Let's look at a modified version of our previous HTML file that adds all of the above:
For the most part, this version is the exact same as
Code 1-1, except for the addition of the
So while nothing changed in the code between the
body tags, there is going to be a radically different view now in the browser. The following screenshot shows how the iOS mobile browser renders the page now:
Right away, you see a couple of differences. The biggest difference is the relative size of the text. Notice how much bigger it is and easier to read. As we said, the user could have zoomed in on the previous version, but many mobile users aren't aware of this technique. This page loads up immediately in a manner that is much more usable on a mobile device.
As we saw in the previous example, just adding in jQuery Mobile goes a long way to updating our page for mobile support. But there's a lot more involved to really prepare our pages for mobile devices. As we work with jQuery Mobile over the course of the book, we're going to use various data attributes to mark up our pages in a way that jQuery Mobile understands. But what are data attributes?
<div id="mainDiv" data-ray="moo">Some content</div>
In the previous HTML, the
data-ray attribute is completely made-up. However, because our attribute begins with
data-ray attribute, and change the background color to whatever was specified in the value.
This is where jQuery Mobile comes in, making extensive use of data attributes, both for markup (to create widgets) and behavior (to control what happens when links are clicked). Let's look at one of the main uses of data attributes within jQuery Mobile—defining pages, headers, content, and footers:
Compare the previous code snippet to
code 1-2, and you can see that the main difference was the addition of the
div blocks. One
div block defines the page. Notice it wraps all of the content inside the
body tags. Inside the
body tag, there are three separate
div blocks. One has a role of
header, another a role of
content, and the final one is marked as
All the blocks use
data-role, which should give you a clue that we're defining a role for each of the blocks. As we stated previously, these data attributes mean nothing to the browser itself. But let's look what at what jQuery Mobile does when it encounters these tags:
Notice right away that both the header and footer now have a black background applied to them. This makes them stand out even more from the rest of the content. Speaking of the content, the page text now has a bit of space between it and the sides. All of this was automatic once the
div tags with the recognized
data-roles were applied. This is a theme you're going to see repeated again and again as we go through this book. A vast majority of the work you'll be doing will involve the use of data attributes.
In this chapter, we talked a bit about how web pages may not always render well in a mobile browser. We talked about how the simple use of jQuery Mobile can go a long way to improving the mobile experience for a website. Specifically, we discussed how you can download jQuery Mobile and add it to an existing HTML page, what data attributes mean in terms of HTML, and how jQuery Mobile makes use of data attributes to enhance your pages. In the next chapter, we will build upon this usage and start working with links and multiple pages of content.