More about Mobile Ajax Frameworks ..

Furthur to my previous entry about Mobile Ajax Frameworks, I got this email from Bryan Rieger of Yiibu. Bryan and Steph are doing some great work at Yiibu and you should definitely check out their site (They just moved over to the UK as well – Scotland – and are just settling in – so say Hi to them if you are based in UK/Europe/Scotland)

In relation to Mobile Ajax frameworks, the Opera platform is a clear bet and a leader due to their position on Mobile Ajax but Bryan sent me the following

Notes below from Bryan

As long as the browser actually supports (not just press releases) these ‘basics’ (DOM/CSS/XMLReq/ECMAScript) it should be possible to develop mobile ajax applications.(I absolutely agree! Stick to the basics and stick to the standards)

There are a few hopefuls however:

jQuery - A fairly compact (<20kb compressed) library with minimal essential functionality (send/receive/parse/query/etc) included - along with a few nice UI touches (show/hide/fade/etc) built in. Ideally, I'd like to get this lib stripped down a few more kb (it's ~55kb uncompressed) and possibly develop a mobile specific variant.

MooTools – Again, quite compact and the basic library (http://moofx.mad4milk.net/) comes in around 3kb (also requires prototype variant so there’s another chunk on top of that…) – but it does look like there is something to work with there on the mobile side of things. Not as nice as jQuery IMHO… but definitely has potential.

I found these of interest after going through Yahoo! UI, Prototype, Rico, OpenLaszlo, Dojo, MochiKit and a bunch of others that by and large tend to throw the kitchen sink into their ‘platforms’. Having to download a 200kb+ library onto a device and expecting it to run within a mobile browser is simply beyond hopeful. Truth be told, I’m wondering if in many ways it would simply be easier on mobile platforms to simply use the base XMLHTTPRequest object along with simple DOM Scripting to develop mobile ajax apps/content at this stage. As long as the browser actually supports (not just press releases) these ‘basics’ (DOM/CSS/XMLReq/ECMAScript) it should be possible to develop mobile ajax applications.

The other problem is having a decent reference browser with which to test all of this. NetFront, OpenWave/MIDAS, Opera, Minimo, Nokia’s WebKit, Internet Explorer Mobile, etc are all quite varied in terms of ajax support at the moment.

Currently we’re using Opera mobile (not mini) as our reference platform moving forward. Hopefully the other browser manufacturers catch up in the wild (not press releases) so we can begin testing beyond Opera.

One thing that would be really helpful in dealing with ajax on mobile devices is some sort of memory consumption guide – ie: how much memory do certain objects/function require and where are you likely to run into problems, as this is a much more common problem on memory constrained devices than desktops/laptops.

Mind you, I think that’s a tool that all developers working with AJAX could use.

Thanks Bryan!