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 fast forward and discuss when can we declare mobile framework dead:
- Enough users abandon it so that critical user mass no longer exist
- Official support no longer exist, development has ceased (allow me to quote Monty Python : “This parrot is no more, it has ceased to be”)
- 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.
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.