Mobile Components for Visualforce
October 23, 2012
At Dreamforce 2012 Salesforce demonstrated the Salesforce Touch platform. Salesforce Touch enables to easily create and deploy mobile apps across multiple devices on Force.com.
One thing that stood out to me was the styling used to render the apps, so after doing a bit of hunting I found that they have developed a component library called Mobile Components for Visualforce. The Dreamforce 2012 web app itself is built using this library and provides a slick, responsive UI to replace the standard Salesforce look and feel.
I soon found that the Visualforce components are simply wrappers for jQuery Mobile components, and provide a layer of abstraction so that Visualforce developers can set up a jQuery Mobile UI quickly and easily. Whilst it is very easy to set up a simple app, it is fairly limiting when it comes to customization. There are only a few components available and serve basic use cases such as showing a list of sObjects, rendering a detail page given an sObject Id, and rendering a basic page layout with a split view/header/footer etc.
The best thing about Mobile Components for me is that it introduced me to jQuery Mobile! jQuery Mobile is great for making web-apps that look good on any device, and provides many different components to play with. Mobile Components for Visualforce is limited at present, however if they add to it in the future I can see that it will be handy for getting a basic Salesforce mobile app up and running with minimal effort.