In the process of making Camping.Info more mobile-friendly, I've needed to move around pieces of HTML in the DOM time and again. At last, I've come up with two little helper functions that I wrapped into a little jQuery plugin that I want to share in this post.
When To Use Move-Restore
The DOM tree on every page on Camping.Info is quite large and often convoluted. At least partly this is a consequence of the many UserControls we use to build our pages on the server using ASP.NET WebForms.
To achieve a more mobile-friendly layout of these pages we needed to position certain elements differently, hide some and show others, and in the end also move around some critical parts to fit the mobile design. Much of work could and has been done by our designer via CSS but for the rest of them we need to touch the DOM tree.
Move-Restore proves especially helpful in the case of a user-agent switching between two different layouts of your site, e.g. the desktop and the mobile layout (in case you have just those two), because it easily allows you to restore elements you previously moved around.
How to Use Move-Restore
Just call $("#move-me").moveTo("#target") when you want to move something e.g. in your mobile layout and at a later point, e.g. when switching back to your desktop layout, call $("move-me").restore(). That's it.
I've also put together a fiddle to show how to use the plugin here. Also, have a look at the usage.html in the below gist.
How It Works
The beauty of this plugin, in my opinion, lies in the fact that you don't have to manually keep track of where you get an element from to later restore it.
Internally, the plugin inserts a <script> element in place of the moved element. The (highly probably) unique id of that script element is stored as a datum on the moved element and later retrievable when we need to restore the element to its original position.
Currently, at revision 2 of the gist, there's one option you can tweak to match your scenario: the jQuery method the plugin should use to move the selected element(s) around. By default, move-restore uses appendTo but there are other sensible options, e.g. prependTo, insertAfter, or insertBefore. Just pass the one that fits your needs as the second optional argument to moveTo.
Use Move-Restore at Your Convenience
I invite everyone to try and use this handy little plugin and am open for feedback.