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Comparing jQuery Mobile vs. JQTouch

Published on April 23rd, 2012

Comparing the two right off the bat can be a tricky task as each project serves a different purpose. jQuery’s mission has always been cross-browser unification, thus jQuery Mobile takes a similar approach. On the other hand, JQTouch uses the jQuery library as the foundation, but focuses on being a lightweight approach to mobile web creation.

When choosing the tools for your project, it pays to be open minded. Both projects have a purpose, however, I can’t help but note how “bloated” jQuery Mobile feels in the latest release. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing but respect for the community, and I try to assist in my limited way whenever I can, but when you look at jQuery Mobile’s support list, you can quickly see that guaranteeing a similar experience in all browsers, both desktop and mobile, in one framework requires a lot of extra code handling and correction. Nothing comes without a price.

I’ve been using jQuery mobile for only three months now, so I doubt my opinion bares a lot of weight with the community, but all the same, I was literally blown away when I used jQTouch instead of jQuery Mobile as my mobile framework. The transition animations were zippy and responsive. The entire interface feels great on the iPhone and iPad. Of course, there is a price to pay in platform support and particularly in feature-set. There is no fixed footer support, which means no tabbar (the little menu bar at the bottom of the screen on a lot of Apps) or even a multi-button navbar. Of course, you can add all of this yourself, as you can with any JavaScript-based project, but that isn’t the point. With jQuery Mobile, all of this is supported right out of the box.

So in summary: jQuery Mobile for Rich Features and Mass Platform Compatibility. jQTouch for lightweight mobile form navigation. Good thing we have room in our world for more JavaScript frameworks!!

About the Author: Sprawl

Stephen Russell is a Mobile App developer and all around IT geek that spends his days running data centers and his nights coding. This site is the go to place for all of zSprawl's work and the infamous development blog. In his free time, he enjoys tinkering with web code, playing video games, and otherwise plotting to take over the Internets.


7 Responses

  1. Rob

    I, too, have used both and I also agree that jQuery Mobile feels bloated. I also had issues with the animations being un too smooth. jQTouch is nice because it is simple and focuses on the native animation aspect rather than building the whole application. I was able to get around the fixed footer issue by creating my own and writing a jqtouch-overwrite css file and now I have a fixed header and footer with no issues.

  2. jMike

    Do you always have to select jQuery Mobile **OR** jQTouch? Can they work together somehow? I want to use “native elements” for the iPhone provided by jQTouch in my JQuery Mobile app.

    • I would imagine you can use the CSS style sheet from JQTouch with your jQuery Mobile App. Just put it after the jQM style sheet in your index.html file and see what happens.

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