Jquery Mobile Form - Select Menus Part I

    Today we will take a look at the select boxes styling and usage using Jquery Mobile. Select menus has a little more explanation and examples than other controls and so I am dividing the select menus tutorial into 2 parts. In the first part, we will take a look at the basics of the Jquery Mobile select menus and in the second part we will take a look at the more complex examples involving the select menus.

    The Jquery Mobile select menu is based on the native HTML select element, which is styled and modified to suite the Jquery Mobile framework's style. By default, the framework leverages the native OS options menu to use with the custom select button. When the button is clicked, the native OS menu will open. When a value is selected and the menu closes, the custom button's text is updated to match the selected value. The framework also offers the possibility of having custom (non-native) select menus; which we will discuss in part 2 of this tutorial. Refer to the screenshots below to understand how the native select menus work.

The Native menu - Android 4.1.1/ HTC One X


The Native menu - iPhone 4S/ iOS 6.1.3


    The select boxes can be used singularly or in a vertical group or can be even grouped horizontally. These select boxes can be used along with data-mini="true" too, which renders the select boxes in a smaller size. We will take a look at all this in the example that follows.


    The first implementation of the select box in the above code is the regular, simple select box. The framework styles this select element as per the Jquery Mobile framework styles displaying a button with custom down arrow and using the native OS menu. The second implementation is exactly similar to the first one with the only difference of data-mini="true" attribute. Addition of this data attribute to the select element renders a smaller select box..

    In the next implementation we have the label and the select box aligned side-by-side. To achieve this, we need to wrap the select element with in a div with data-role="fieldcontain". Adding this data attribute to the div tells the framework to align the label and the select box side-by-side.

    In the fourth implementation we have the regular select element with the optgroup used for the options. Including options within the optgroup element, groups these options visually under a single optgroup label. However, the support for this feature in mobile selects is a bit spotty, but is improving by the day.

    Multiple select boxes can be grouped together like checkboxes or radio buttons to achieve visual grouping of the select elements. The select boxes can be grouped vertically as well as horizontally. To achieve this the select elements need to be wrapped within a fieldset element with data-role="controlgroup". Doing this would group the select boxes vertically (which is the default grouping technique). To group the select boxes horizontally as seen in the last implementation, you need to add another data attribute data-type="horizontal" to the fieldset element.

    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.

    Hope this post has cleared out your basics of the Jquery Mobile select menus. In part 2 of this tutorial, we will take a look at the advanced select menu options where we can override the default menu behavior and create differently styled select menus. Stay tuned for the advanced topics on select menus in the next post and you can also look at the complete list of Jquery mobile listview and form elements examples. Fun is on it's way!

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