Nokia mobile theme for Drupal released

After many hours of work spread over a couple of months, I have finally released the first version of the Nokia Mobile Theme on drupal.org.

The theme is really a theme on steroids! While normally it should just deal with printing out to screen a few tags and content, in my case I had to add a number of functions for device detection. We wanted to be able to distinguish between a basic mobile device and a high-end one, plus we laid down the foundations for a mid-end presentation. Since the Mobile Plugin did not provide the level of detail that I needed, I had to create my own functions that at this stage are mostly overriding what the plugin does. A lot of the experience made with the WordPress Mobile Pack was put to good use, fortunately.

You can check out the official project page to download the files. Also, check out the handbook page for installation details and if you feel too lazy to read, why not look at the video tutorial?

The work is not over, the plugin is good, but I think it could do better and for this reason I’ve teamed up with the author, Teemu, and we will release some interesting updates such as a new light detection and some extra extensibility that should allow template designers to have more freedom.

Feedback is very welcome, of course, either here or on the Drupal site.

Drupal + Nokia templates = GREAT mobile theme

Nokia has always had great resources for developers and designers and I am very pleased to note that they keep being ahead of the competition. Forum Nokia recently released some nice templates to help inspire designers and also make it easier for new comers to get started. This is all great, but what about the site owners? Creating a mobile presentation for their sites isn’t THAT easy. So, which are the most popular Open Source CMS platforms? Easily said, Drupal and WordPress.

Here I am today showing you a fully functional preview of a nice mobile theme that I designed based on the official Nokia templates. It comes with two design implementations one for low-end devices (will work on all Nokia devices, but should be good for any XHTML-capable browser) and one for high-end devices such a Series 60 (Symbian) and Maemo, but also iPhone, Palm Pre and Android – all running webKit!
Also, we have provided buttons and images in 4 different colours so you can personalise your design easily via the standard theme configuration menus.

The theme relies on an existing Drupal module called Mobile Plugin, so you will need to isntall that along with the plugin.

What should you do with this theme? Well, if you are lazy and all you want is to turn your Drupal site into a mobile-friendly site, just install the plugin and the theme and all your mobile visitors should be very pleased. On the other hand, if you agree with me that mobile is the future and that it’s the most exciting thing happening in technology today, what you should do is download the templates and see how you can further extend the theme and make it better and more the way you like it.

The project is Open Source and should very soon appear on drupal.org, so you are more than welcome to send feedback and improvements. In the meantime you can download a preview.

PS: If you use WordPress you might want to take a look at the WordPress Mobile Pack that has just implemented the same templates!

DISCLAIMER: This project was kindly sponsored by Forum Nokia

UPDATE: link to the preview has been removed, see the official project page for the final release.

Hosted apps available on SourceForge

I have started using SourceForge many years ago when we decided to host WURFL there. At that time, the choice was easy, SourceForge was synonym of open-source and everyone who wanted to host his project would go there. Over the years (and after the dotCom bubble burst) many competitors came into play (Google’s Code, BerliOS and more), but SourceForge is still there.

For quite a while my impression has been that they did not add many services to developers. I have to admit that it must be very hard to keep their systems up and running with all the needs developers have, nevertheless the forums, the mailing list and other bits of SourceForge, in my opinion, would have needed a revamp. Of course, being them in the open-source business as a hosting company, it seems strange to develop things in-house and not take advantage of existing software (and hopefully contributing!). It looks like SourceForge agree with me, in fact in yesterday’s newsletter they announced changes in their online help (moving to Trac’s wiki) and most of all the availability of a number of open-source software for use to their developers.

A number of updates are available here on the official Site Status page.

Volantis Mobility Server 5.1

I’m pleased to see that Volantis Announces Mobility Server 5.1. According to the PR version 5.1 is focused around adding connectors for web 2.0 applications such as Picasa and Flickr. Also, the device database has been updated and they now claim more tha 5600 devices! I see that the open-source version of the server is still at 5.0, but I know they are really committed to open-source, so I’m sure they will follow up quickly. These days I’d be especially curious to see the Media Access Proxy in action, if done right it’s still one of the most important things in mobile (get the images right!).

They also announced an update to BuzzCast last week, hopefully my operator will buy it so that I can test it. πŸ™‚ I’m a NetNewsWire addict, so BuzzCast seems quite interesting to me.

Open-source marketing?

When you think open-source you think free. It turns out that while many still think that open-source happens mostly during the night and created by bored developers looking for fame, there is also money in it. There are quite a few companies now trying to have a healthy open-source environment and at the same time make money.

I’m excited to refer to Roberto Galoppini (pure Italian) has earnt great respect in the open-source world and is now joining InitMarketing to help them.

Volantis goes fully open-source

Volantis had announced a few months ago that they would open-source their software. They later offered a binary download while making the final touches to the open-source version. Well today is the day they release the entire software to the community.
BIG step for a company that has sold the software for so many years.

Here is an e-mail I just received:

Andrea

I wanted you to know that we have today released a version of the Framework, the Volantis Mobility Server, to the open source community under the GNU General Public License (GPL), version three.

Volantis is the first mobile content delivery solutions vendor to open source its code. In offering its Mobility Server to the community, Volantis aims to drive adoption and encourage more companies to bring usable and compelling content to the mobile Web.

β€œThe Internet grew, in large part, because it was easy to develop for the Web. Not only were browsers relatively standardized, but the tools to create databases and complex systems are open and available,” said Volantis CEO Mark Watson. β€œOur goal is to bring that same openness to the mobile Web. Developing for this market is difficult thanks to the splintered phone market, which will only continue to diversify. Developers need an easy-to-use tool with a proven device library in order to help their creativity come alive.”

If you would like to receive a copy of the full press release please let me know. You can visit http://opensource.volantis.com to access the software and for further information and you can contact us via the community website or me individually at this address.

Regards

Su Johnston
Volantis Systems Limited

Here is also a link to the official press release on their site.

Of course Volantis is also a partner of DeviceAtlas and we are working closely with them in order to integrate their great device database with ours so that developers can get the best of the best.

Italian Government: open-source funds vanished

I’m re-blogging a post by Roberto Galoppini, a huge advocate of open-source. Apparently the Italian government has cancelled the funds for open-source. It’s disappointing that to save money they cancel this type of fund, but they keep paying millions for all the license of MS Windows, Office and so on. There are alternatives today and they would be so much cheaper only in licenses.

Anyway, you can see the full article here.

Nokia suggests WURFL for device recognition

Nokia recently (May 29, 2007) released Version 1.0 of a document describing the guidelines to develop Mobile Web sites specific for their devices, of course. The document is specifically aimed to developers and authors that want to target the most recent and advanced mobile browsers, based on Apple’s Webkit. The document is called “Nokia Web Browser Design Guide” and you can download it for free (after registering) from Forum Nokia.

It is good to see another big company, shortly after Ericsson, to suggest WURFL.

Open Source Events: Bruce Perens and Richard Stallman in Rome

From Roberto Galoppini: “The Innovation Festival, that will be held in Rome from the 6th till the 10th of June [2007], will guest people from all around the world to talk about traditional and also unconventional routes to innovation. Richard Stallman and Bruce Perens will attend.”

To know more check out Roberto’s post, Open Source Events: Bruce Perens and Richard Stallman in Rome

Mobile Web Toolkit by BeeWeeb Technologies

BeeWeeb Technologies, an Italian software-house (does anybody still use this term?), has recently launched the first version of a new software called “Mobile Web Toolkit“.
The Mobile Web Toolkit is more a technology and a set of tools rather than a simple software. The technology is the result of a few years of experience developing software for mobile devices and for mobile operators, it is a technology to produce a layout that is mobile-friendly from content that was meant for desktop browsers.
Its current incarnation, and only open-source, is a plug-in for WordPress, but BeeWeeb has promised to release more plug-ins and libraries. The open-source version is based on WURFL, but reading the FAQ I think they also mean to provide tools to carriers and that will be based on a proprietary technology that might, later, be integrated with WURFL.

I also spotted a web-version of a presentation they made on the Mobile Web Toolkit that also adds some info about the technology in general and their plans to release more software in the near future.