Developing Mobile Web Applications with JQuery Mobile – Pros, Cons, and Alternatives

As the name suggests, jQuery Mobile is a touch-optimized platform built on top of the jQuery library. It allows programmers to create mobile web apps for major mobile platforms such as Android, iOS, Windows Phone and Blackberry. Developers can further leverage the framework to build mobile apps using widely used standards such as HTML5, CSS3, JavaScript, and AJAX. At the same time, jQuery Mobile is designed with features to help developers build mobile web apps without writing long lines of code. However, every programmer still needs to appreciate the pros and cons of jQuery Mobile, and know the alternatives.


JQuery Mobile supports many mobile platforms and devices. As noted earlier, it supports several popular mobile platforms including Android, iOS, Windows Phone, and Blackberry. Likewise, it also supports multiple mobile devices with different screen sizes and resolutions. Thus, the framework makes it easier for programmers to create cross-platform mobile applications without writing code for specific devices and operating systems. They are also not required to make changes to the code to match the screen size and resolution of individual devices.

When creating their own mobile application, programmers must use a specific programming language. For example, they must use Swift or Objective-C to develop iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch apps. JQuery enables developers to build mobile web applications using open and widely used standards such as HTML5, CSS3, JavaScript, and AJAX. Widely used web technologies make it easy for developers to create a wide variety of applications without wasting time and effort.

Nowadays, developers have to create their own themes to make a mobile app look different and attractive. JQuery Mobile makes it easy for developers to create custom themes with ThemeRoller. Apart from being able to load custom themes, ThemeRoller also allows them to change their appearance by simply dragging and dropping colors. In addition, they can create flawless visuals using the CSS3 box-shadow and text-shadow properties.

JQuery Mobile also helps programmers customize form controls, page layouts, page bars, headers and footers. Thus, they can manipulate various elements of the page according to the client’s requirements. Likewise, they can also apply CSS-based transition effects included in the framework to customize the submission of forms and links to pages via AJAX.

When planning mobile apps, businesses need to consider the approval process across the various app stores. Many companies find it difficult to add their apps to the Apple App Store. But jQuery includes the virtues of separate frameworks. Since the framework contains the virtues of the Apple App Store, developers can easily get Apple’s approval. In this way, jQuery Mobile makes it easy for businesses to launch and promote their applications. At the same time, it allows developers to focus on the functionality and performance of the application without worrying about the approval process.


The performance of mobile web applications developed using jQuery varies across web browsers and devices. Many programmers have noted that applications run slower on Android and Chrome operating systems. But the same apps run faster on iOS devices. Also jQuery apps cannot outperform native mobile apps in the category of speed.

Many users find that applications developed using jQuery look almost the same. Some users even feel that jQuery app designs are not optimized for tablets and other large screen devices. Many companies are forced to use experienced user interface designers to make mobile web applications different and attractive.

Despite supporting multiple mobile platforms and devices, jQuery is primarily a JavaScript library. Thus, it cannot access all the functions of a mobile device like other cross-platform mobile app development tools. Not being able to access native device functionality makes native apps perform better than jQuery apps.

HTML5 is now widely used for developing both mobile web applications and games. Therefore, developers are looking for frameworks with specialized functions to accelerate the development of mobile games. JQuery Mobile does not provide any special features for developing game applications. As such, it can only be used to build simple data-driven mobile web applications.


Cross-browser compatibility and too many features make jQuery Mobile cumbersome. Many developers prefer to develop mobile web apps using lightweight frameworks like Snack.js, Zepto.js, xui.js, 140medley, $ dom, PhoneJS, Junior, Jo and Davinci SDK. However, a specific structure can complement the specific needs of each project. Thus, programmers should be mindful of the nature and needs of a mobile app development project when comparing jQuery and its alternatives.

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