Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Jquery Mobile Form - Text inputs

    In this post on "form text input's" styling and usage using Jquery Mobile we will cover various input types and textarea styling using JQM. We will also cover the various attributes that can be used with the input types. Text inputs and textareas are coded with standard HTML elements, then enhanced by Jquery Mobile to make them more attractive and useable on a mobile device.

    The text input elements are available in 2 flavors/sizes - regular and mini. Following is a standard HTML syntax for an input element.

    Adding a data attribute data-mini="true" to the input tag renders a smaller sized input element. Let's take a look at the code sample below to understand the working in a better way.

    Apart from the regular input type, to accept multi-line input, use the textarea element. The advantage of using textarea in Jquery Mobile is that, the framework auto grows the height of the textarea, avoiding the need for the content in the textarea to be scrolled internally. In the example below, you will see to implementations of textareas - one with label and textarea on 2 separate lines and the other with the label and textarea on the same line.

    In the code above, you will see 4 different implementations of the input element. The first one is a regular input of type text with the label and the textbox one below the other. The second implementation is exactly similar to the first implementation with the only difference of the added data attribute "data-mini="true"" which reduces the size (basically height) of the textbox.

    The third implementation gets the label and the textbox on the same line. This implementation is done using a div with data attribute data-role="fieldcontain" around the label and input tags. This div has to be within a form tag. Maintaining the HTML structure is very important when using JQuery Mobile framework.

    In the fourth implementation, we have used the HTML5 placeholder property and done away with the label completely. However, for the sake of accessibility, we have included the label tag with class="ui-hidden-accessible" so that the label is not displayed but is present in the HTML structure. This implementation is popularly used on mobile sites as this reduces the amount of scroll.

    To disable the input field just add the keyword "disabled" to the input tag and your input type would be disabled.

    A note on accessibility:
    For the sake of accessibility, jQuery Mobile requires that all form elements be paired with a meaningful label. To hide labels in a way that leaves them visible to assistive technologies — for example, when letting an element's placeholder attribute serve as a label — apply the helper class ui-hidden-accessible to the label itself. While the label will no longer be visible, it will be available to assisitive technologies such as screen readers.

    You can use the various input types supported in HTML5. The advantage of using the HTML5 input types is that keybords default to the particular input type are displayed by default. The following example demonstrates the various HTML5 input types that you can use. Try out the example on a mobile device and you will see for yourself the various keyboards that default the particular input type.

    The mobile browsers that do not support the new HTML5 input types will fall back to the default input type="text" and show the default alpha-numeric keyboard. Adding the images (screenshots) of default keyboards displayed for different input types on the Android and iOS devices, to this post would make the post really long and so I have included these images here.

    Hope this post has been informative to you and helps you use the various input types effectively in your next Jquery Mobile based application. Drop a comment to let me know what you feel about this post as well as the earlier series on Jquery Mobile listview. Share the post if is has helped you, so that maximum developers benefit from this one. Till next time, happy coding!

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