Tablets and Touch UIs in WordPress 3.4

We’ve had some terrific progress made in the realm of supporting touch interfaces and tablet UIs for 3.4!

The main areas that we’ve focused on for this release were improving touch support in the user interface, resolving incompatibilities for our target devices, and enhancing the UIUI User interface’s methods for adapting to more restrictive screen sizes.

Target Devices

Our target devices for the 3.4 release were the iPad and the Kindle Fire. The iPad stands as an obvious choice, and the Kindle Fire’s steep climb to over 50% of market share amongst Android tablet devices justifies its presence as well.

Improving Touch Support

For touch-supportive devices, we’ve added a fantastic jQuery extension to the coreCore Core is the set of software required to run WordPress. The Core Development Team builds WordPress., jQuery UI Touch Punch. This has enabled ‘drag and drop’ support on mobile devices. Whether editing a post, customizing the dashboard, or modifying a Nav Menu, you’re now able to easily reposition items on a touch interface to your heart’s content, just as you would on your desktop browser.

Caveat: Windows Phone Devices

Windows Phone 7/7.5 phones are wonderful devices. Unfortunately, when Microsoft based the phone’s web browser off IE9, they didn’t add in any touch support. As such, there is no way to detect touch events in the browser — `ontouchstart` doesn’t exist. Dragging support does not work on Windows Phone 7/7.5 devices, but should on Windows 8 tablets and phones when released.

Resolving Incompatibilities

This boiled down primarily to the Kindle Fire. The version of WebKit used in the Kindle Fire’s native Silk browser doesn’t support the contentEditable attribute, so TinyMCE wouldn’t work! To accomodate for this, we added an override to test for the version of webkit that the client is using, and just disable the visual editor if the browser doesn’t support it. This patch should also cross-apply to older versions of iOSiOS The operating system used on iPhones and iPads. and Android as well.

UI Enhancements

In Ticketticket Created for both bug reports and feature development on the bug tracker. #20015, we migrated the dashboard and write screen columns to use primarily @media queries, rather than the JSJS JavaScript, a web scripting language typically executed in the browser. Often used for advanced user interfaces and behaviors. that had previously been used. This should provide some performance optimizations in mobile browsers.

The Tableteer team for 3.4 was comprised of Andrew Ozz, Zach Abernathy, and George Stephanis.

#android, #mobile, #target-devices, #ui-enhancements