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WAP developments? Anybody?

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Russ Ferriday Russ Ferriday
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WAP developments? Anybody?

I've been chatting a bit to Hedley Roos of Upfront Systems.  Upfront created PloneWurfl and are using it successfully. It's not up to Plone 3.x yet, but probably will be soon.

A client of mine is considering a project that caters to WAP as well as Web.  I'm interested whether anyone other than Upfront has done much work in this area. When I asked folks at the DZUG meeting in Saarbrucken, last week, the response was negative. Is this due to small sample size, or does hardly anyone care about WAP?  Wapple in the UK seems to be making some busines out of WAP, so it's not dead yet.  

As I see it, the state of the art in Plone is that PloneWurfl keep Plone synchronized to the Wurfle device database. Using the device string from the request as key, on can interrogate the database and determine if the UI is card based, has a browser, etc. One creates templates than can adapt themselves to the limited resources on a device. One can imagine templates that add optional navigation elements, or viewlet/portlet features, depending on resolution and screen capability. Images sizes may vary, and fonts may differ. Of course, these templates will be custom developed for the application one is developing. 
 
Best wishes,

--r.
Russ Ferriday - Topia Systems - Open Source content management with Plone and Zope
[hidden email] - office: +44 2076 1777588 - mobile: +44 7789 338868 - skype: ferriday


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Wichert Akkerman Wichert Akkerman
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Re: WAP developments? Anybody?

Previously Russ Ferriday wrote:

> I've been chatting a bit to Hedley Roos of Upfront Systems.  Upfront  
> created PloneWurfl and are using it successfully. It's not up to Plone  
> 3.x yet, but probably will be soon.
>
> A client of mine is considering a project that caters to WAP as well  
> as Web.  I'm interested whether anyone other than Upfront has done  
> much work in this area. When I asked folks at the DZUG meeting in  
> Saarbrucken, last week, the response was negative. Is this due to  
> small sample size, or does hardly anyone care about WAP?  Wapple in  
> the UK seems to be making some busines out of WAP, so it's not dead yet.

>From what I see WAP is mostly dead, and the few companies I knew focusing
purely on WAP technology no longer exist.

Wichert.

--
Wichert Akkerman <[hidden email]>    It is simple to make things.
http://www.wiggy.net/                   It is hard to make things simple.

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Re: WAP developments? Anybody?


On 20 Sep 2008, at 07:33, Wichert Akkerman wrote:
...

From what I see WAP is mostly dead, and the few companies I knew focusing purely on WAP technology no longer exist.

Thanks Wichert!

Yes, this has been my stance for a long while. WAP started out with many architectural issues, and has made hard work of it, despite its several versions, ever since. Meanwhile laptops become cheaper, and browers better. Media are becoming richer, and it's hard for desktop browsers to keep up, let alone mobile devices.

Ari Jaaksi proclaims that mobile is dead but his posting attracted several thoughtful comments. The way I see it, it may be just the mobile ghetto web that is dead. The idea of a separate Mobile internet with http://mobile.domain.tld URLs should certainly be a part of history. But for some (long?) time we will need a web that is sensitive to screen size and resolution, and device capabilities. 

I found this comment to the above blog useful:
"I too worked on WAP browser with Ari (hi Ari! :) and I have to disagree a little. I too used to believe the "mobile web" would become unnecessary. But as a heavy user of our Web Browser for S60, I've found myself preferring mobile-friendly versions for my frequently-used content. mobile.wundergound.com is perfect for quickly checking the weather, compared to the full www.wunderground.com. .mobileapp.espn.go.com is so much faster for getting the baseball standings than www.espn.com. Etc. But for exploring new pages, the full view is really nice.

I believe there will be convergence in about 6-8 years when a huge percentage of web traffic is from full browsers on small screens. Then site developers will learn the tricks to make pages flow better on both big and small screens, so there will be less need for separate versions.Google News text version is a great example of a site that looks good on either size screen.

Google has implemented our recommendations very nicely: when it recognizes a mobile web browser it shows links at the bottom to switch between Classic and Mobile. And best of all, it sets a cookie to remember, so google.com shows up as you last left it.

I do believe that almost everyone will have the full web in their pocket by 2015, and in developed countries probably sooner. But it will never fully match the big-screen experience, and that's ok. Developers will adapt when there's sufficient demand, and things will "just fit" most of the time."

So we can take a step in that direction using PloneWurfl, by activating content elements, viewlets, etc, depending on device capabilities. By sizing images to suit. I always see form handing as one of the trickiest area in Plone. Fragmenting dialogs by hand into long sequences is painful, so I will be looking for a way to automagically fragment forms so that a cpt can also source a series of entry cards. 

My client has thought about this long and hard, and WAP is on his 'essential' list. I can clearly see some special advantages, including identity tracking which has some important ramifications. 

I'm going to air my concerns, as usual ;), but will support the decision if mobile is to be catered for. There are some powerful requirements coming together in this project, and I hope that Plone/Zope can become the platform for implementation.

I appreciate your comments,

Best regards,

--r.

Russ Ferriday - Topia Systems - Open Source content management with Plone and Zope
[hidden email] - office: +44 2076 1777588 - mobile: +44 7789 338868 - skype: ferriday


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Roché Compaan Roché Compaan
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Re: WAP developments? Anybody?

In reply to this post by Wichert Akkerman
On Sat, 2008-09-20 at 08:33 +0200, Wichert Akkerman wrote:

> Previously Russ Ferriday wrote:
> > I've been chatting a bit to Hedley Roos of Upfront Systems.  Upfront  
> > created PloneWurfl and are using it successfully. It's not up to Plone  
> > 3.x yet, but probably will be soon.
> >
> > A client of mine is considering a project that caters to WAP as well  
> > as Web.  I'm interested whether anyone other than Upfront has done  
> > much work in this area. When I asked folks at the DZUG meeting in  
> > Saarbrucken, last week, the response was negative. Is this due to  
> > small sample size, or does hardly anyone care about WAP?  Wapple in  
> > the UK seems to be making some busines out of WAP, so it's not dead yet.
>
> From what I see WAP is mostly dead, and the few companies I knew focusing
> purely on WAP technology no longer exist.

I can't disagree more and I think you will be surprised by how many
companies do take this technology seriously now. WAP 2.0 is a cut-down
version of XHTML and this makes it a much more approachable standard. It
also makes it very easy to make a version of your site that is better
viewed on devices with less screen really estate.

In our own experience many big local brands (and I'm sure international
ones too) want a WAP version of their site for the very simple reason
that that mobile phones are vastly more powerful and this is becoming an
important communication channel.

You say it's dead, in my opinion it is a booming market and it might
well be worth it for some Plone companies to research it a little bit
just to see how easy it is easy make WAP sites with Plone. If I get some
time in the next three months I'll post some howtos.

--
Roché Compaan
Upfront Systems                   http://www.upfrontsystems.co.za


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Re: WAP developments? Anybody?

Roché Compaan wrote:
On Sat, 2008-09-20 at 08:33 +0200, Wichert Akkerman wrote:
  
Previously Russ Ferriday wrote:
    
I've been chatting a bit to Hedley Roos of Upfront Systems.  Upfront  
created PloneWurfl and are using it successfully. It's not up to Plone  
3.x yet, but probably will be soon.

A client of mine is considering a project that caters to WAP as well  
as Web.  I'm interested whether anyone other than Upfront has done  
much work in this area. When I asked folks at the DZUG meeting in  
Saarbrucken, last week, the response was negative. Is this due to  
small sample size, or does hardly anyone care about WAP?  Wapple in  
the UK seems to be making some busines out of WAP, so it's not dead yet.
      
From what I see WAP is mostly dead, and the few companies I knew focusing
purely on WAP technology no longer exist.
    

I can't disagree more and I think you will be surprised by how many
companies do take this technology seriously now. WAP 2.0 is a cut-down
version of XHTML and this makes it a much more approachable standard. It
also makes it very easy to make a version of your site that is better
viewed on devices with less screen really estate.
  

From what I can see all devices are slowly starting to accept standard html & co (ie including sensible javascript and image handling) so investing in other technology is not a good long term investment. Local markets may differ of course and I haven't researched this either, but that's my feeling based on what I see happening in my environment.

In the end it's all skinning though, and especially if WAP 2 is just a XHTML subset these days it shouldn't be hard at all to support it.

Wichert.

-- 
Wichert Akkerman [hidden email]   It is simple to make things.
http://www.wiggy.net/                  It is hard to make things simple.

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