Sorting User-Agent strings out

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.
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RSS feed about user-agent strings

A few days ago, thanks to a suggesting from Tim Cleminson @ M:Metrics, I slightly update the query page at http://t.wurfl.com/query/ .

First of all I think there was some confusion about the “last 10 user-agent string”. My intention was to show the last unique strings that were stored. This of course creates some problems to users that might want to check their headers, but actually have a device that was already registered on the system. I split the functionality in two, now and you can choose if you want either the last unique user-agent strings or the last that were recorded. I also raised the limit from 10 to 50.
Please note that user-agent strings and the rest of the headers are registered only if there was something new. If you visited the site and the full headers were already recorded you won’t appear as a new header anyway. It’s a rare combination that will happen almost only if you used the same device, the same gateway and so on, but it could still happen. Storing every single header is out of the scope of the site so I have no plans to add that.

A new feature that I added is the possibility to see these latest recorded headers in a nice RSS feed. I also added the convenient buttons to add to Google reader, My Yahoo or Newsgator.
The feeds are cached for 1 hour to lower the load.

See the latest mobile phones

Last night I was literally hypnotized by a very simple script (AJAX?) that refreshes every few seconds. I was browsing around and got on AdMob‘s site and immediately was captured but the device names on the right. I kept reading device names, countries and mobile operators for quite a few minutes… Yes, I know, I’m sick! :)

I just love these features, I can’t get away from them.

In a similar effort and only for the happiness of my eyes, I recently added a feature that is totally useless, but makes me giggle every time I see it.
Every time someone visits t.wurfl.com the user-agent is recorded in a database. It is possible to query the user-agents and see the values captured through another webpage. Well, I have added device thumbnails just to entertain myself, of course. If you wanted to see the last 10 Sony Ericsson devices that visited the site, for example, you will see the nice thumbnails.

All this was developed using free software, of course. WURFL, Tera-WURFL and the device pictures that the community has collected. Device thumbnails were developed this Sunday, instead of going out, seeing people and having some real relationship with human beings…