First and foremost, I’m not looking to start a flamewar or a troublesome article, so if you don’t like this type of article leave it this moment. Second thing, I will probably be a little bias towards jQuery Mobile. Mainly because I spent three years working with it and actively supporting other jQuery Mobile users over at StackOverflow.
 
Let’s start from the beginning, I will try to be as objective as I can be under these circumstances. jQuery Mobile was announced during August of 2010 as an answer to the rising trend of building responsive mobile websites. Basic idea was great, let’s take most popular JavaScript library in that time (jQuery of course) and make for the mobile world what jQuery UI made for classic web development. In principle, this was an excellent idea. I’m not going to talk about final product; you should decide if it is worth your time and effort.
 
 

Note: If this tutorial was helpful, need further clarification, something is not working or do you have a request for another Ionic post? Furthermore, if you don't like something about this blog, if something is bugging you, don't like how I'm doing stuff here, again leave me a comment below. I'm here to help you, I expect the same from you. Feel free to comment below, subscribe to my blog, mail me to dragan.gaic@gmail.com, or follow and mention me on twitter (@gajotres). Thanks and have a nice day!

PS. If you want my help, if possible (even if it takes you some time to do that), create a working example I can play with. Use Plunker for AngularJS based questions or jsFiddle for jQuery/jQuery Mobile based questions.


 

Argument

 
Let’s fast forward and discuss when can we declare mobile framework dead:
 
  1. Enough users abandon it so that critical user mass no longer exist
  2. Official support no longer exist, development has ceased (allow me to quote Monty Python : “This parrot is no more, it has ceased to be”)
  3. No one talks/writes/blogs about it
 
 
The first point is hardest to prove, how can we measure a number of active framework users? Simple answer is we can’t, but we can do second best thing. We can count (asked) StackOverflow question (over time) for jQuery Mobile group. Thanks to some clever StackExchange developers we can do it directly on StackOverflow database. I have used this query and it resulted in this graph:
 
 
Graph is showing us several years of growth that is slightly slowing down. This can be attributed to still active jQuery Mobile 1.4 (it was deployed last year) while this current year (2014) offered us only cosmetic changes, ranging from 1.4 to 1.4.5. It tells us that from the user point of view jQuery Mobile is still alive and kicking. So far, so good.
 
From the development side of view, this year was weak. While previous years offered us 1-2 major releases per year current one gave us only minor cosmetic changes. One could read this as developers losing interest over jQuery Mobile (low interest usually equals to dead product). Official blog announcement didn’t help either. Current year gave us only official release announcements and note about lead developer stepping down (not good). I will conclude this point with the GitHub, if you go there, you will see that 2014 contribution levels were lowest in the known development history:
 
 
It took me some time, but I found the reason. Current year (2014) was divided between bug fixing (1.4.X development) and work on a next major version (1.5 development). Low GitHub contributtion can be attributed to two separate projects. First jQuery Mobile is merging with jQuery UI and new CSS engine is in development.
 
Personally, I’m finding this problematic. It isn’t as though they have nothing to say, rather, they have almost too much to say and they’re not doing that. What I’m having trouble with is that they are doing it in completely wrong places. They should use their official blog, write something down, tell people that show is still going on.
 
Lack of official announcements led me to the last point of this presentation. No one talks/writes/blogs about jQuery Mobile anymore. I know only of two bloggers who are actively covering jQuery Mobile: jqmtricks and myself. Jqmtricks is led by Omar (current active StackOverflow jQuery Mobile group contributor) so everything there is pretty fresh. I’m also trying to cover everything as much as I can. Unfortunately, this is simply not enough.
 

Conclusion

 
You read everything, I hope you came to the same conclusion as I had. jQuery Mobile is still very much alive, but it’s not well. Lack of comprehension, missing announcements, and increased competition are leading users away from it. This need to change and only framework developers can change this unfavourable tide.
 

Who Am I?

Between working as a senior Java developer in one of the largest insurance companies in the world and traveling, in my free time, I work as a professional mobile development adviser. I'm also a major jQuery Mobile supporter back at StackOverflow and a forum moderator at the official Ionic Framework forum.

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  • Nacho

    I’m currently developing a project in JQuery Mobile, went through all its quirks and know it like the palm of my hand now, but your blog and other random bits have been really helpful in figuring out workarounds when using this framework.
    I think JQM has quite a few problems, starting with its own demo pages: if you want a particular example, you have to hunt it down in more than a few categories. The widgets themselves don’t always behave as you expect: they get in the way of your own customizations in case you want to do some quick css, some rely on deprecated data-attributes, others work with css or both, and if you want it pre-rendered, in some cases you still have to put data-attributes again so JQM won’t touch that div.
    The premise is really good and for simpler apps where you are just fine touching the DOM and linking webpages instead of a complete MVC framework, but the framework feels old currently, and for the cruft it has accumulated over the years it needs a little bit more than a facelift.

    • I agree with everything said, hopefully, version 1.5 will bring such a change.

  • Thanks for this well composed article. I was simply looking for an answer when I pickup an old project to see if jqm was dead – their blog was active at the time and its’ simply isnt now. Your article gave a very good understanding of where JQM is and the near future.
    Many thanks for sharing it!

  • Edgar Reynoso

    Do you have a great tutorial on how to track JQuery Mobile/Phonegap page views with Google Analytics?

    • Unfortunately, I never wrote anything similar, there were already too many articles on that topic. Do you have problems implementig GA into jQuery Mobile or are you just looking for a tutorial?