A router/controller for jquery mobile. Also adds support for client-side parameters in the hash part of the url. The routes handles regexp based routes. This plugin can be used alone or (better) with Backbone.js or Spine.js, because it's originally meant to replace their router with something integrated with jQM.
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jQuery Mobile router is a plugin for jQuery Mobile to enhance the framework with a client side router/controller that works with jQuery Mobile events (pagebeforecreate, pagecreate, pagebeforeshow, pageshow, pagebeforehide, pagehide, pageremove).

In addition, it extends jQM with a client-side parameters in the hash part of the url (yay!!!)

The jQuery Mobile router javascript file must be loaded before jQuery Mobile.

This plugin can be used alone or (better) with Backbone.js or Spine.js, because it's originally meant to replace their router with something integrated with jQM.


A lot of people wonder why this router uses jQuery Mobile events instead of simply listening for hashchange, as a normal controller would do.

The main reason is to preserve the granularity offered by jQuery Mobile while giving the programmer a simple way to tap into "unusual" page transition states, such as "pageinit" or "pageremove", as if they were standard routes. The outcome is a controller which is more powerful and versatile, in the jQM realm, than its purely hashchange based counterpart.

Without a tight integration with the framework one would lose a lot of the possibilities offered by jQuery Mobile and this is not only a pity, but also very frustrating, especially when things get complicated (as it always does in real-life projects) and you need to resort to its most advanced functions.

In addition, if you want to use standard hashchange-based routers, you have to disable some of the features that make jQuery Mobile so unique among similar libraries and do a few things "by hand", just to fill an irreconcilable gap between how jQuery Mobile works and how we are used to handle routes in normal web applications.

What's new in the latest versions

  • Form parameters are now correctly handled
  • support for pagebeforechange, pagebeforeload, pageload
  • Added a parameter in the configuration object to execute only the first route handler found
  • Support for a different syntax defining your routes
  • Added a nice getParams() function to actually 'parse' parameters in the hash and get a simple object to play with them.
  • Support for the pageinit event.
  • Bugfixes to support events for the first displayed page.
  • Default handler support
  • The original jquery mobile event is passed down to route handlers

Upgrade notes

0.5 to 0.6 You can define a default handler in the "conf" object. This will be called when no matching routes are found in the set you've provided

0.3 to 0.4 The main javascript file has been renamed to jquery.mobile.router.js

0.2 to 0.3 There's no need to use the data-params="true" anymore in your anchors since hash params are enabled by default.

The reuseQueriedAjaxPages extension was removed since it wasn't so useful and a similar behaviour can be achieved with the new jquery mobile caching mechanism (but if you need it please mail me).

The router/controller

Whenever jQuery Mobile changes the url (usually the fragment part) the router checks if that particular url matches one of your routes and calls the handler you've provided with a bunch of useful arguments.

When you define a route, you'll provide:

  • a regular expression to test the url/hash against
  • a handler (a function)
  • when your handler must be called (for example, you may decide to setup a route only when the pagecreate and pagebeforeshow jQM events are dispatched)

The plugin exports a class in $.mobile.Router and you can instantiate your routers with the following arguments:

var approuter=new $.mobile.Router(myRoutes, myHandlers, options);

  • myRoutes is an object or an array defining your routes
  • myHandlers is an object with your function handlers
  • options is an object with a certain configuration (see below)

Here are a few examples:

var router=new $.mobile.Router([
        { "/index.html": { events: "i", handler: "index" } },
        { "/restaurant.html[?]id=(\\d+)": { events: "i", handler: "restaurantDetail" } },
        { "/events.html(?:[?](.*))?": { events: "i", handler: "events" } },
        { "/eventDetail.html(?:[?](.*))?": { events: "i", handler: "eventDetail" } },
        { "/accomodations.html(?:[?](.*))?": { events: "i", handler: "accomodationsTaxonomy" } },
        { "/accomodationList.html(?:[?](.*))?": { events: "i", handler: "accomodations" } }
], ControllerObject, { ajaxApp: true} );

var router=new $.mobile.Router([
        { "#ticketPlanner([?].*)?": "ticketPlannerShown" },
        { "#ticketConfirm": "ticketConfirmShown" },
        { "#ticketDetail([?].*)?": { handler: "ticketDetailPage", events: "bs,h" } },
        { "#ticketHistory": "ticketHistoryShown" },
        { "#map": { handler: "mapHidden", events: "bh" } },
        { "#map": { handler: "mapShown", events: "s" } }
], ControllerObject);

----- IMPORTANT (no kidding!) -----

  • By default, the router will match the routes against the hash part of the url. If you need the FULL PATH (pathname+search+hash), please set the "ajaxApp" configuration parameter to TRUE (see below)

  • If you're using a multipage template in your jquerymobile application, the first displayed page is quite an "anomaly" in the navigation model, because, even if it has its own id, this is not reflected in the hash. This doesn't happen for other pages. This "empty hash" problem may come into play when the back button is used by the user. Since writing an "empty" regular expression such as "^$" to match this page seems really strange, the router will accept only a route with the page id, for example "#foobar"

  • If you need to use backslashes (as in: \d, \s, etc) in your regular expressions, please make sure to escape them (\\d, \\s). You may test your regexp by using: "yourstring".match( new RegExp("regexp string") )

myRoutes object

myRoutes supports the following formats:

  1. This one binds a certain route to the pagebeforeshow event and calls the handler, which can be an inline function or a function name (a string) that must be defined in the myHandlers object
			"regularExpression": "handlerName",

			/* or */
			"regularExpression": function(){
				// your inline function here ...

			/* or */
			"regularExpression": someobject.functionReference
  1. This is the full syntax to specify various jQM events you want your route to be bound to. The object defines an "handler" property with a string value: this is the name of a function defined in the myHandlers object. Again, you may also put an inline function in the "handler" property instead of a string. The object also defines an "events" property with a string value: this is a list of (shortened) jQM events, separated by a ",". Your route will be called only when these events are fired.
			"regularExpression": { 
				handler: "handlerName",
				events: "bc,c,bs,s,bh,h"

			/* or */

			"regularExpression": { 
				handler: function(){ ... },
				events: "bc,c,bs,s,bh,h"

Please refer to the following schema to understand event codes (it's really straightforward)

		bc	=> pagebeforecreate
		c	=> pagecreate
		i	=> pageinit
		bs	=> pagebeforeshow
		s	=> pageshow
		bh	=> pagebeforehide
		h	=> pagehide
		rm	=> pageremove
		bC	=> pagebeforechange
		bl	=> pagebeforeload
		l	=> pageload
  • The above syntax, however, doesn't let one use the same regular expression to call different handlers (this is due to the fact that the regexp is a key into an hashmap, so it must be unique). If you need, for instance, to call the function "foo" when a certain page has been shown, and the function "bar" when the same page has been hidden, you could use the following syntax:
		var approuter=new $.mobile.Router([
			{ "#certainPage": { handler: "foo", events: "s" } },
			{ "#certainPage": { handler: "bar", events: "h" } }
		], {
			foo: function(...){...},
			bar: function(...){...}
		}, options);

By using an array, you can specify the SAME REGULAR EXPRESSION multiple times, but for DIFFERENT EVENT TYPES.

This is an example of a common myRoutes object:

Syntax 1:

		"#localpage(?:[?/](.*))?": {
			handler: "localpage", events: "bs,bh"

		"ajaxPage.html(?:[?](.*))?": {
			handler: "ajaxPage", events: "c,bs"

Syntax 2:

		{ "#localpage(?:[?/](.*))?": { handler: "localpage", events: "bs,bh" } },

		{ "ajaxPage.html(?:[?](.*))?": { handler: "ajaxPage", events: "c,bs" } }

Choosing the right event

In order to successfully exploit routing under jQuery Mobile, the developer should have at least a minimal knowledge of its event system (among other things!): http://jquerymobile.com/demos/1.0.1/docs/api/events.html

Once you're familiar with page change events, you can choose the right one in order to achieve the desired behaviour in your application. I know this may be a difficult choice, at least initially, so I'll try to sort things out for you. Bear in mind that the following are just suggestions that cannot replace a deep knowledge of the jQuery Mobile framework.

For single-file multipage applications (you have an html file containing a lot of jQM pages):

  • pagebeforeshow or pageshow: These events are called every time a particular page is shown. This is perfect to render and update a page, often using the parameters in the hash part of the url

  • pagebeforehide or pagehide: These events are called every time a particular page is hidden. You can use these events to clean views or models, to free resources and clean the DOM.

For ajax applications (multiple files containing a single jQM page):

  • You can still use the events described above... but keep on reading, you may find a better option

  • pagebeforecreate, pagecreate or pageinit: These events are called before/after a jQuery Mobile page has been initialized. Remember that initialization happens just once for a particular page (unless it's removed from the DOM, see below). If you make changes to the DOM before a page or a widget is initialized, you won't have to update or refresh it. But please note that if your models need to be refreshed through an ajax call, you'll probably get your results back from the remote server when the page has already been widget-ified by jQuery Mobile, so pay attention to this scenario and prefer the "pageinit" event, unless you know what you're doing.

  • pageremove: This one is called when a page is automatically removed from the DOM by the framework. This applies only to pages that were fetched via ajax. When the user navigates away from a certain page, jQuery Mobile will remove it from the DOM to keep its size small, unless otherwise specified (see the data-dom-cache="true" option in the doc). Use this event to clean models and views references.

myHandlers object

There isn't much to say about this object. Simply provide the function handlers you've specified in the myRoutes object. By default, your route handlers are executed in the myHandlers scope.

For example:

		handlerName: function(eventType, matchObj, ui, page, evt){
			// your code here

Your handlers will be called with the following arguments:

  • eventType: the name of the jQM event that's triggering the handler (pagebeforeshow, pagecreate, pagehide, etc)

  • matchObj: the handler is called when your regular expression matches the current url or fragment. This is the match object of the regular expression. If the regular expression uses groups, they will be available in this object. Cool eh?

  • ui: this is the second argument provided by the jQuery Mobile event. Usually holds the reference to either the next page (nextPage) or previous page (prevPage). More information here: (http://jquerymobile.com/demos/1.0/docs/api/events.html)[http://jquerymobile.com/demos/1.0/docs/api/events.html]

  • page: the dom element that originated the jquery mobile page event

  • evt: the original event that comes from jquery mobile. You can use this to prevent the default behaviour and, for instance, stop a certain page from being removed from the dom during the pageremove event.

Common mistakes

jQuery Mobile is a wonderful framework and it seems really easy to use at first. While this may be true for server-side generated mobile pages, things are very different once you have to do a full client-side web application, using backbone.js or spine.js and possibly Phonegap/Cordova.

The whole hash handling performed by jQuery Mobile may be confusing, dynamic page loading/injection must be understood in order to be successfully exploited, and you should also know the jQM event system to have a fine grained control over page switching.

Here is a list of things you should check when you're in trouble, based on my experience but, more importantly, on the email I've received from other users of the jQM router.

  • the router should be instantiated as soon as possible, possibly just after loading jquery mobile. This ensures that even the first pageinit event can be catched and handled by the router

  • please make sure that the router is not instantiated multiple times by mistake. This will lead to routes being fired twice, at least

  • do not assign id's to page divs, unless you're using a single-file multipage template. In fact, ids will interfere with data-url generation (at jquery mobile level) in ajax applications

  • do not call $.mobile.changePage during a page transition with the destination page being the one the framework is already transitioning to. That is to say, if you click on a link to #foo and you have a pagebeforeshow route bound to it, DO NOT invoke $.mobile.changePage("#foo") in your handler (the result will be an epic failure due to a bug in jquery mobile)

  • pay attention to the ORDER in which events are fired. Remember that pagebeforeshow is fired before pagebeforehide, so if you're cleaning the dom when the page is being hidden and do your rendering stuff in pagebeforeshow, you have to be careful during same-page transitions or you'll get a blank page. You can use a certain counter (incremented during *show events and decremented during the hiding) and clean the dom only when it's 0, or examine window.location, or (better) use the "ui" argument passed to the handler (.nextPage is the property that you need)

  • DOUBLE CHECK your REGULAR EXPRESSIONS! A typical mistake is forgetting the $ operator. If you have two pages, such as #product and #productList, a hypothetical route "#product" would match both pages, leading to unexpected behaviors. Use the $ operator when unsure: "#product$"

  • use setTimeout to avoid doing time-consuming tasks in a page-transition handler. If you have a route bound to pagebeforeshow (or even other events) and your code takes too much to execute (for instance, very long foreach loops, synchronous ajax calls, complex manupulations of markers in a google map), jquery mobile may throw an error.

Public methods

Router objects have the following public methods:

  • add(myRoutes,myHandlers): You can dynamically add routes on an already instantiated router. The myRoutes and myHandlers objects were already described above.

  • destroy(): Unbind events and deactivate this router instance

  • getParams(hashPartOfTheUrl): Returns an object with the parameters encoded in the url or null if nothing's found. It's particularly useful when used with a general regexp such as the following one: #page(?:[?](.*))?

    For instance, if you have this url: #page?id=3&foo=bar and call: routerInstance.getParams("?id=3&foo=bar") or (if you used the regexp) routerInstance.getParams(match[1])

    you'll get this object:

					id: "3",
					foo: "bar"

There's an example under examples/backbone-example !

jQM Configuration

jQuery Mobile Router supports the following parameters:

*ajaxApp: tells the plugin to use the full page path for its matches instead of the hash part of the url

*firstMatchOnly: stop searching for other route matches once the first one has been found (only the first handler is executed). Defaults to false

*defaultHandler: a function reference or a function name to be called when no matchin route is found

*defaultHandlerEvents: the defaultHandler will be called for these events, if no routes are matched. Please note that THESE EVENTS MUST BE DEFINED AT LEAST ONCE IN ANOTHER ROUTE, otherwise the defaultHandler won't be executed. That is to say, if your routes are defined for "pagebeforeshow" and "pageshow" events only, a defaultHandler for the "pagehide" event won't work!

You can pass an object with the above properties to the single router instance or set it globally with this code (must be used BEFORE loading jquery.mobile.router.js):

			ajaxApp: true

Notes on jQM router

Have you ever wanted client-side parameters in the hash part of the url in jQuery Mobile?

Well, jquery mobile router automatically enables this feature for you, using an official "hack" provided in the jQM documentation.

  • This hack isn't quite different from the one previously used by this plugin. But since there's something 'official', we'll be guaranteed that our code will be supported in future releases and I'm extremely happy about this.

For bugs, comments, patches and requests mail me!


Copyright 2011 (c) Andrea Zicchetti

You may use jQueryMobile-Router under the terms of either the MIT License or the GNU General Public License (GPL) Version 2.

You don’t have to do anything special to choose one license or the other and you don’t have to notify anyone which license you are using. You are free to use a jQueryMobile-Router in commercial projects as long as the copyright header is left intact.

For more information see: