It is very common that over the years something gets more and more cluttered, until at some point someone comes in and decides it’s time to clean up and start fresh, based on current and up-to-date needs. User-Agent strings, part of the HTTP request headers, are no different and between desktop and mobile browsers, the history is long and the amount of text (some might say useless text) has just kept growing. I am going to try and write down what is important today and why.
The other day was brought to my attention that Paddy Power (the biggest bookmaker in Ireland and one of the biggest in the UK) has launched a new version of their mobile site for iPhone. At first I imagined a little restyle and some extra spacing for touch screens based on their existing mobile site, which was good already good.
To my great pleasure, it was something completely new!
In an effort to show what you can achieve with the nokia_mobile theme that (hopefully) will be released shortly, I set up a small demo site with some dummy content. You can visit the site with your mobile device at dtest.dreamhosters.com. Don’t hold your breath, it’s dummy content, but the device detection and how the theme adapts based on the device capabilities should be evident.
The Mobile Plugin normally uses a PHP implementation of the WURFL API, unfortunately on a cheap hosting service (I bought dreamhost’s CHEAPEST possible offer on purpose) this crashes the server. So for this demo I started implementing what is in my view the next step, a very basic device detection that will enable site owners to decide what they want to do. If they have a lot of content optimised for different devices, they should pick WURFL and use the advanced rules settings available in the plugin, on the other hand, if they want a basic detetion and provide just two or three layouts, a simple detection should be more than enough. With the current demo version, no cache files are generated and the detection is instant. I would like to make this part of Mobile Plugin, eventually and better integrate the device classification that I built in the nokia_mobile theme.
More on device classification in the next days.