So, the million-dollar question in this migration to WordPress has been: will this enable me full mobile-Web-base administration and content creation? Well – here I am, using the native browser on the Blackberry 8700 and I’m happy to report the answer is “yes.” Not only have I composed this post, but I’ve also been able to moderate comments (OK – delete spam) and perform other admin functions entriely within the mobile browser. Kudos both to the WordPress folks for making such a great admin and authoring console and to the Blackberry browser team for the great browser environment. The full keyboard on the Blackberry also makes it particularly well suited to mobile blogging. It may not seem like such a big deal, but this is the first time I’ve managed to successfully write a blog post of any signifigant length from a mobile device. Yet another sign that the mobile Web is coming of age.

We have had some great coverage of the mobile2.0 event appear in the blogosphere and the press. Here are four particularly good and detailed run-downs of the day: (in Spanish) I was particularly impressed with the coverage in the Register. They never print anything positive about anything, so we must have done something right. If you attended the event and you wrote about it on your blog or took pictures, please leave a comment or trackback on the mobile2.0 event blog, here.

Well — I’m off Blogger and on to WordPress. The whole process was surprisingly simple. I’ve been wringing my hands about doing this for months now thanks to the WordPress migration tools, the whole thing was virtually painless. I feel like I’ve gone from a Volkswagen to a Ferrari. WordPress is so configurable. It’s got a whole ecosystem of plug-ins and themes (including the aforementioned wp-mobile plug-in which detects mobile browsers and feeds them mobile-friendly pages). It’s open. Most importantly, if I want to change it in some way, I can edit every single file. Now — I say the wp-mobile plug-in is cool, and it is, but there is a big problem with it, and that has to do with, what else, device detection. The plug-in knows you’re browsing from a mobile device because it matches the user-agent string against a list of strings that are hard-coded into the PHP program. If you read my previous post on Device Description Nirvana or are familiar with the work of the MWI Device Descriptions working group, then you’ll know that this issue of device descriptions is a thorny one. In the world of device description nirvana, this plug-in would use an API to query a global database of user agent strings to definitively determine if the incoming request is from a mobile device or not. More importantly, it would be able to use the capabilities of these devices to make intelligent decisions about how best to adapt the page for that particular device. Until that time, however, …

WordPress Has Landed Read more »

I am in the process of bringing this blog over from Blogger to WordPress. In the process, I am learning all about WordPress and the wonderful plug-in (modified by Mike Rowehl) which creates mobile-friendly pages. During this transitionary phase, some links to this site might not work. Please bear with me.

It’s been an exciting week in the blogosphere for the Mobile Web. First Barbara Ballard posts part 1 of an article on “What’s Wrong with the Mobile Web.” This is followed up on by both Andrea Trassati and Mike Rowehl and then Tom Hume picks up on those posts. With so many respected individuals piping up on this issue, I could hardly have stayed out of the fray… Actually, I’ve been saying for some time what Barbara essentially is saying in her post: mobile-specific user experience is essential the growth of the Web on the mobile platform. My vision of the “One Web,” however, encompasses this idea through the notion of (ta da) “thematic consistency,” which has been articulated nicely by the Mobile Web Best Practices working group. Thematic consistency does not mean you have to have the same page displayed across different devices — it allows for different user experience across different devices but asserts that the same URI when viewed on different devices should provide thematically similar results (for example, the same news article or blog post). So — even though I hold Barbara in very high regard, I disagree with the articulation of the “two camps.” From my perspective, the two camps might be closer to “the browser can do it all” vs. “the content authors need to do something too.” Clearly, I’m in the second camp: Web sites need to start factoring in Mobile users when they design and build their services, not as an after-thought. I think this is already happening. …

Mobile Web Kerfuffle Read more »

While at the MoMo Global Summit some people I had never met told me that they read my blog. This was a bit of a shock to me. But it got me thinking – I really need to spruce up the place. First of all, I think I need a new name. I chose Dan’s Blog when I created the thing because I really didn’t know what it was going to be about. It turns out most of what I have to say in a public forum is about what I do for work – most of which fits into the category of evangelism and musings about technology and mobile stuff. So I may need a new name for this blog. Something sexy like “dispatches from the razor’s edge of the vanguard of the technorati.” Or something. I’m still formulating.

I suppose if I were really serious about the “Mobile Web,” I would start by making this site mobile friendly. Unfortunately, I tried to access it with my lovely new Sony Ericsson V800 and found it completely mobile non-friendly. I should, in theory, be able to rectify this using CSS media queries. More soon.

Yes! This blog is now XHTML and CSS compliant. I find it doubly ironic that in order to do what I wanted to do (align images to the right in the posts) in this new “easier” way to publish on the Web, I had to go back and learn CSS and XHTML syntax. All images now have alt tags as well, which is at least a start at accessibility.

So I’m fiddling around with the Blogger template, adding links and such, and I think to myself: “I wonder if this thing produces HTML that is at all accessible?” (As in conforms to the W3C’s accessibility guidelines.) So I test it against a W3C HTML checker for starters. Bzzzt! Thanks for playing! Actually, it’s got basic, across-the-board HTML problems. Too bad, because it’s kind of nice looking. I may try fiddling with it to get it into shape, but the problem seems to be that you can only do so much — there are server-side inclusions that you don’t seem to have any control over. For instance, Blogger seems to be putting in a meta tag claiming that the page is in UTF-8 encoding, when in fact it’s not. Oops!