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Mobile devices

Hi,

could anybody tell me what the current state of technology for mobile
devices is?

I have seen so far that there is cHTML (imode), wml, xhtml (full or
basic) to be used for mobile devices. Which of these technologies should
be used to create a web page for mobile devices, if the target audience
will be limited to (central) europe?

Any help appreciated,

best regards

Michael
Jul 23 '05 #1
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12 Replies
Michael Wimmer wrote:
Hi,

could anybody tell me what the current state of technology for mobile
devices is?

I have seen so far that there is cHTML (imode), wml, xhtml (full or
basic) to be used for mobile devices.
Or there's normal HTML and tag-soup, as seen on the web. Different
devices support different things.
Which of these technologies should
be used to create a web page for mobile devices, if the target audience
will be limited to (central) europe?


Users anywhere in Europe have a choice of devices. Many of them will
make that choice without knowing what "xhtml" or "wml" are, let alone
understanding the implications of their device supporting them.

If you want to support such devices, offer a content-negotiated set
of presentations, so the server serves what the browser tells you it
supports. You can do that from a common source with Apache, using
mod_negotiation to determine what to serve, and mod_publisher to
transform your markup to the appropriate format.

--
Nick Kew
Jul 23 '05 #2
Michael Wimmer wrote:
could anybody tell me what the current state of technology for mobile
devices is?

I have seen so far that there is cHTML (imode), wml, xhtml (full or
basic) to be used for mobile devices. Which of these technologies should
be used to create a web page for mobile devices, if the target audience
will be limited to (central) europe?


In western Europe, and I guess it's the same in central Europe, WAP 1
(WML) is widely supported.
Since a few years there are more and more gsm devices that support WAP 2
(xhtml). Some operators also sells iMode access(cHTML)... And at last,
few phones embed a real web browser.

All you need to know is what audience you want to target, what types of
content you want to publish, etc.
Jul 23 '05 #3
On Tue, 15 Feb 2005 09:33:05 +0100, Michael Wimmer
<ne********@ecom.at> wrote:
could anybody tell me what the current state of technology for mobile
devices is?


In flux.

Last work I did was in PartnerML - Vodafone's (actually Bango's)
technology to allow single-platform authoring for two generations of
devices. You serve content from your server as PartnerML, then Voda's
stack transcodes it into phone-specific content, as required.
Somewhat lumpy, and the standard is less stable than it ought to be,
but it avoids the need for legacy WML support.

Personally, for web work, I'm not careful to use XHTML 1.0 and good
CSS-based fluid design, with some effort placed on the accessibility
aspects. With a little image resizing in the network stack, this gives
good results on PDA-like devices.

Phones still can't "browse the web" - they just don't have the screen
space to allow it. If you're building an app (tickets, pizzas, taxis)
and your _target_ market is phones, then you're still going to have to
use non-mainstream non-vanilla HTML techniques to do it. This is a
mess and you have to talk to the network provider to know what's
really supported.

And if your users are American, &deity; help you - as always, their
phone networks are a nightmare.

WAP / WML isn't dead yet, but thankfully it's sufficiently moribund
and transcoder-wrapped that few people working at the "content
authoring" level still have to worry about it.

--
Smert' spamionam
Jul 23 '05 #4
On Tue, 15 Feb 2005 13:31:23 +0000, Andy Dingley
<di*****@codesmiths.com> wrote:
I'm not careful to use XHTML 1.0


s/not/now/

Doh!
Jul 23 '05 #5
In article <42**********************@news.free.fr>,
Pierre Goiffon <pg******@invalid.fr> wrote:
Since a few years there are more and more gsm devices that support WAP 2
(xhtml).


XHTML Mobile Profile, actually. Some Ericsson phones don't like
Transitionalisms like inline content as direct child of body.

Also, the small size of the pages is important. Low or mid-range phones
have severely limited allowed page sizes.

--
Henri Sivonen
hs******@iki.fi
http://hsivonen.iki.fi/
Mozilla Web Author FAQ: http://mozilla.org/docs/web-developer/faq.html
Jul 23 '05 #6
Henri Sivonen wrote:
Also, the small size of the pages is important. Low or mid-range phones
have severely limited allowed page sizes.


Yes, you're right to add this. I don't know for WAP 2, but in WAP 1 the
WAP gateways were refusing WML pages that were beyond a very little size
limit (9Ko if I remember correctly)

Anyway a good start for WAP is http://www.wapforum.org/
Jul 23 '05 #7
Hi,

thank you all for your very helpful inputs so far.

The intended audience can not be limited, it is basically of equal
interest to everybody who is online.

Displayed information will be limited, say some sort of address
information based on a simple search.

To summerize all the statements gathered so far, would that mean that I
am on the (somehow at least) safe side if I code my page in XHTML 1.0
basic or do I have to create different pages (chtml, wml, xhtml) for
different devices.

Best regards,

Michael

Andy Dingley wrote:
On Tue, 15 Feb 2005 09:33:05 +0100, Michael Wimmer
<ne********@ecom.at> wrote:

could anybody tell me what the current state of technology for mobile
devices is?

In flux.

Last work I did was in PartnerML - Vodafone's (actually Bango's)
technology to allow single-platform authoring for two generations of
devices. You serve content from your server as PartnerML, then Voda's
stack transcodes it into phone-specific content, as required.
Somewhat lumpy, and the standard is less stable than it ought to be,
but it avoids the need for legacy WML support.

Personally, for web work, I'm not careful to use XHTML 1.0 and good
CSS-based fluid design, with some effort placed on the accessibility
aspects. With a little image resizing in the network stack, this gives
good results on PDA-like devices.

Phones still can't "browse the web" - they just don't have the screen
space to allow it. If you're building an app (tickets, pizzas, taxis)
and your _target_ market is phones, then you're still going to have to
use non-mainstream non-vanilla HTML techniques to do it. This is a
mess and you have to talk to the network provider to know what's
really supported.

And if your users are American, &deity; help you - as always, their
phone networks are a nightmare.

WAP / WML isn't dead yet, but thankfully it's sufficiently moribund
and transcoder-wrapped that few people working at the "content
authoring" level still have to worry about it.

Jul 23 '05 #8
On Wed, 16 Feb 2005 13:00:48 +0100, Michael Wimmer
<ne********@ecom.at> wrote:
would that mean that I
am on the (somehow at least) safe side if I code my page in XHTML 1.0
basic


In the first case, consider a "web" site. If you provide a good fluid
design in either HTML or XHTML then you should have good access from
PDA-sized devices, large-screen phones and upwards. Avoid table-based
layout, pixel-based sizing etc.

This approach is a good one for both desktops and phones. You only
need to provide one form of content, and you won't be able to detect
phones anyway as they'll have been represented by unidentifiable
proxies.
In the other case, you're writing an aplication for "the phone
network", not "the web". For a very interactive phone application,
then you may wish to tailor a specific version. This is to keep the
size of the _content_ down and manageable from a human-factors
viewpoint - you might even still offer this as the same HTML or
technical format as a "pure web" approach.

Server addresses in this case will usually be specific to that
application being addressed from the phone network - it's not part of
"the web" at all. You will provide two sets of content, but these are
a whole different site design, not just a technical transcoding.

--
Smert' spamionam
Jul 23 '05 #9
Andy Dingley wrote:
In the first case, consider a "web" site. If you provide a good fluid
design in either HTML or XHTML then you should have good access from
PDA-sized devices, large-screen phones and upwards. Avoid table-based
layout, pixel-based sizing etc.


That's theory. In practice, you won't provide the same content and/or
services to a user who uses a mobile device or a computer...
Jul 23 '05 #10
On Thu, 17 Feb 2005 11:46:18 +0100, Pierre Goiffon
<pg******@invalid.fr> wrote:
That's theory. In practice, you won't provide the same content and/or
services to a user who uses a mobile device or a computer...


Of course you will - you can't tell ! Secondly you can't _afford_ to
tailor your content - site admin like that is a huge cost.

This is the whole point of good design techniques, and the sort of
"fluid" layout this newsgroup is always banging on about. Just try
it.
I still remember the first time I really saw this in action. I'd built
a couple of sites by this method, because "I ought to", rather than
from any concrete need. Then a friend visited, a Palm developer, with
one of the first pre-production Palm Pilot devices with built in GSM
phone and web access. We pointed at my site and it displayed
perfectly. From that point on I was convinced.
Jul 23 '05 #11
Andy Dingley wrote:
you won't provide the same content and/or
services to a user who uses a mobile device or a computer...


Of course you will - you can't tell !


You're talking about technical stuff, that is not the point.

I worked for a big french content website, we add access through web of
course but also interactive TV, GSM (WAP, iMode), and worked for a PDA
solution. I can assure you a GSM user doesn't care at all to read a 3000
sign text, he surely wants to find the nearest restaurant instead.

You offer your customers what they need.
Jul 23 '05 #12
On Fri, 18 Feb 2005 10:12:18 +0100, Pierre Goiffon
<pg******@invalid.fr> wrote:
I can assure you a GSM user doesn't care at all to read a 3000
sign text, he surely wants to find the nearest restaurant instead.


Then that's two separate sites. One is restaurant critique for people
with time to read, one is for people who don't have the time / space /
bandwidth to read the long version. The _content_ is different, not
just the presentation.

My statement refers to a site that is offering "some content" and the
question of how to offer that to multiple audiences. The more versions
of it you make available, the more it costs to publish. But if you do
it right the first time, you don't need these multiple versions.

If I _want_ to read 3K of text on my phone, then I should be able to.
Rarely will I do this, but nothing should stop me.

Jul 23 '05 #13

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