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jQuery Mobile Alpha 4 released, with support for Windows Phone 7

by Simon Guest on Apr 19, 2011 |

 The jQuery Mobile team has released Alpha 4 of their cross-platform mobile framework.  Positioned as the last Alpha release before Beta, in addition to resolving many issues since Alpha 3, this new build also ships with several new features.

Topping the list of these new features is the support for Windows Phone 7 (WP7), which was not expected until Microsoft’s official release of IE9 for the device later this year.  Todd Parker from jQuery Mobile explains what the WP7 support looks like:

All core features work great on both WP7 and desktop versions of IE 7 (8 & 9 are close, but not perfect). Keep in mind that WP7’s browser is fairly close to IE7 so advanced CSS features like rounded corners and drop shadows aren’t supported but the layouts and widgets all look great within the capabilities of the browser. We’ve added a polyfill to bring pseudo-media query support to this platform, which we plan to improve with a native media query interpretation at a later stage.

Parker went on to cover some of the additional features, which include:

  • A normalized touch/mouse event system.  Known as Fastclick, this is a feature that allows developers to bind a set of virtual events that are common for both touch and mouse operations across multiple platforms.  For developers, this allows for a single API that covers touch events on supported platforms such as Android, with the same events translating to mouse actions on platforms such as Blackberry.
  • PhoneGap improvements.  For developers using jQueryMobile in combination with PhoneGap, several issues have been addressed to improve compatibility between the two frameworks.  This includes correct support for file-based URLs, and cross-domain page loading.
  • Forms in listviews.  Listviews have been significantly refactored to support the full compliment of form elements.  For developers, this means that wrapping a form tag around an unordered list of elements produces a layout format that has a much more native look and feel for the device.  

Looking ahead to the final release of jQuery Mobile, Parker indicates that the goal is to release a beta version of the framework at the jQuery conference in mid-April, followed by a v1.0 launch by late Spring.  

We are now feature-complete for 1.0 and will be focusing on increasing our device support to include Blackberry 5 and Symbian S60, improving performance, fixing bugs, and expanding our documentation and test coverage.

After 1.0 is out, the project [will] be focusing on a few major themes: tablet support, dynamic applications, expanded widget set, and tools like ThemeRoller and a Download builder. A more detailed roadmap is underway and we’ll share it as we get closer to our 1.0 release.

The release of jQuery Mobile Alpha 4 will most certainly appeal to developers looking to build mobile Web applications for multiple devices, including now the ability to target Windows Phone 7. 

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