How to create Mobile Websites

It’s a Mobile World, no doubt about it, and every second that passes by even more, with over a thousand more mobile phone users being added to the global community per minute. Mobile Web access has been accelerating since 2007 with the advent of multi-touch smartphones, and more recently since 2010, with the emergence of multi-touch tablet computers. Both platforms are designed for better Internet access and browser and application-based user Internet experiences than any devices from previous generations.

Not many people could have predicted this surge on mobile users, and that’s probably why so many websites are unprepared for this new wave of visitors. Even though today the total number of mobile users accessing the internet is greater than those using a computer, there are still many interoperability issues due to the number of different and often incompatible mobile devices, mobile operating systems, and mobile browsers, as well as usability problems derived from physical factors, such as limited resolution screens, aspect ratios, and user operating limitations inherent to the small size of the mobile devices. All these requirements and limitations make the process involved in designing and developing mobile websites fundamentally different from the methodology involved in the creation of traditional ones.

There are several approaches that can be used when creating a mobile website. One is to start from scratch, independently from the main current website, if there’s one online. WAP, WML, or even HTML formats can be used. However keep in mind that WML cannot be run by default on all Web hosts, so make sure to ask your Web host provider first, as the Web server needs to be configured before you can deploy a mobile site using WML.

WML stands for Wireless Markup Language. Although it is inherited from HTML, WML is based on XML, so it is much stricter than HTML and more limited in terms of features and tags. A WML document consists of a header like the following, that declares the type of document and its WML standards:

<?xml version=”1.0″?>
<!DOCTYPE wml PUBLIC “-//WAPFORUM//DTD WML 1.1//EN”
“http://www.mymobilesite.com/index.xml”>

Pages in mobile websites are called cards, and they are declared as follows:

<wml>
<card id=”main” title=”Testing a new Mobile Site” newcontext=”true”>
</wml>

This makes a card that has the ID “main” used for linking purposes, which will display the following title text on top of the screen:

Testing a new Mobile Site

Fortunately HTML can also be used to create mobile websites. Software like Adobe Creative Suite 3 and up, which comes bundled with Adobe Device Central and Dreamweaver CS3, makes it fairly easy to implement HTML thanks to its support of the XTHML Mobile protocol and its targeting of different mobile devices. However, it would be very difficult to support all the available devices available, so the best solution is to keep the HTML code as simple as possible to make sure it is compatible with as many mobile platforms and mobile devices as possible.

If you do not have the time or patience to learn new coding practices, then consider hiring a firm like RackNine that specializes in mobile website design. We also provide for seamless integration of mobile code into Content Management Systems such as WordPress, by using “brave new code” such as WPtouch, a Canadian-made extension that lays the code foundations of websites compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, Android, Opera Mini, Palm Pre, Samsung touch and BlackBerry Storm/Torch, and other mobile devices.

The advent of a great number of web accessible mobile devices over the past year means that if you currently do not have a mobile website, you are potentially losing out on a huge stream of visitors. The creation of an efficient mobile website has become a necessity to anyone serious about online marketing who wants to stay one step ahead of the competition.


RackNine can help you adapt your website for viewing on any kind of mobile device.

For more information please Contact Us.

Brave New Code

BraveNewCode Inc. is run by two Canadian gentlemen, who define themselves as “not only good looking folks, but with skills and abilities too”. However, do not allow yourself to be misguided by the sight of their pictures. They actually do have skills and abilities, apart from a great sense of humor. What began in 2007 as a simple design and development portfolio for the work of Dale, evolved into its present form in early 2008, when Duane climbed aboard contributing his extensive web programming skills to this Canadian top-notch venture.

Dale Mugford is from Ontario and has been designing and developing XHTML, CSS, Javascript and multimedia web projects since 1994. His love for all things CSS and web standards ensures high-quality, cross-browser compatible sites. Duane Storey is from British Columbia, and has been developing software applications and web-based architectures nearly since birth. He has built novel web applications, Facebook applications, and even contributed to the voice engine that was once in Yahoo! Messenger.

The BraveNewCode team is responsible for the development of one of the most popular WordPress plugins, WPtouch, that magically transforms a WordPress blog into a basic iPhone application-style theme, complete with AJAX-loading articles and effects, that can be viewed from an iPhone, iPod touch, Android, Opera Mini, Palm Pre, Samsung touch and BlackBerry Storm/Torch mobile devices. The basic package can be further customized by tweaking its CSS style, sheets to meet  branding requirements. A commercial version offers more advanced options, such as Web-App mode.

To understand why such a piece of code is so relevant, you could read the dotMobi 2010 “Mobile Web Progress” study that demonstrates that the mobile Web is continuing its explosive global growth. While the 2008 study showed 150,000 mobile-ready websites, the 2010 study showed approximately 3.01 million sites, representing an incredible two-year growth of more than 2,000 percent. And that growth level significantly outpaces early desktop growth.

Web analysts Netcraft found that, between 1996 and 1998, the size of the desktop Web grew from 150,000 sites to 2.0 million sites, a growth rate of only 1,333 percent compared to the mobile Web’s 2,000 percent growth in the equivalent timeframe.

The end result is that “many brands and businesses are seeing that mobile is a vital, unique channel and not just a smaller desktop Web. Big brands are now adopting mobile Web strategies, but we still have a long way to go, given the ubiquity of mobile phones compared to computers,” said Trey Harvin, CEO of dotMobi. “A recent Morgan Stanley report noted that the ‘mobile internet is ramping faster than desktop internet did and will be bigger than most think’. Businesses of all sizes need to prepare for the change in how people will access content by embracing the mobile Web.”

Small business owners must engage their growing mobile audience as large brands have. Developments like WPtouch, together with others such as jQuery Mobile, DeviceAtlas and goMobi are making this happen for the mobile Web.


RackNine can help you adapt your website for viewing on any kind of mobile device.

For more information on this and other compatibility issues, please Contact Us.

Microsoft surrenders to WordPress

Microsoft is closing down its fledgling Live Spaces blog network and moving all of its users to WordPress.com.

The director of Windows Live product management Dharmesh Mehta revealed the partner announcement with Automattic (the parent company behind WordPress.com) on Monday.

Mehta said Microsoft had decided it was best to partner rather than try to build a competing blogging service to WordPress’ scalable platform, spam protection, personalization, and customization capabilities.

“Rather than having Windows Live invest in a competing blogging service, we decided the best thing we could do for our customers was to give them a great blogging solution through WordPress.com,” he said.

There are 30 million people who are actively using Windows Live Spaces and that now will have to transfer over to WordPress.com together with their blog posts, comments, and integrated photos. All old Spaces URLs will be redirected to the new blogs.

If you are a Live Spaces user and want to transfer your blog, just visit your existing Space and follow the step-by-step on-screen instructions.

Additionally, you can also connect WordPress.com through Messenger Connect, and provide your visitor with the capability to have new posts and updates on your WordPress.com blog automatically sent to your Messenger friends’ feeds.

More info:
http://windowslivehelp.com/

Guerilla WordPress

Guerilla WordPress installs are websites which use a WordPress Content Management System in such an unconventional way that it’s almost impossible to recognize them as WordPress-powered sites.

Below you can see a few of Alex Walker‘s favorite incognito WordPress sites, courtesy of SitePoint Design View via 1001Templates:

Spotify

WordPress as a cloud-based music service
Spotify is one of the largest streaming music in Europe, currently offering over 8 million tracks for play. Clearly this is a serious web application with some enterprise-level technology powering it.

Spotify

Nevertheless, Spotify chose to skillfully weave all this beefy tech muscle back into a WordPress content management system.
Wheels are not for the reinventing.

Mashable

WordPress as a Daily Tech Newspaper
Mashable’s rise has been even more amazing than that of WordPress. Originally conceived in 2005 as a showcase for Web 2.0 mashups, the site has evolved to overtake the likes of Gizmodo and Engadget in the hypercompetitive tech/gadgets/social media news arena.
Mashable’s biggest problem has always been exposing its best content. As it publishes so frequently, often valuable, timely content can sink before it ever gets a chance to gain traction.

Spotify

Mashable’s latest theme tries to tackle this by using Facebook, Twitter and Digg to bubble its trending stories back to the surface. It seems to be working, as Mashable is currently second only to Huffington Post on Technorati’s list.
Thankfully, Mashable has backed up its open-source credibility by releasing this most recent WordPress theme to the general public.

Icon Dock

WordPress as a graphics candy store
Icon Dock is a online store for purchasing web icons and UI elements.
As you might expect from a site trading in graphical goodies, the visuals are lush and lickable. It also has a rather sexy, ever-present, drag-and-drop shopping cart system.

Icon Dock

It’s fun, easy on the eye, and well executed.

DrippinginSunshine

WordPress as a portfolio site
DrippinginSunshine is Alister Lane’s personal portfolio site.
As you might expect, there’s a lot of competition in the “WordPress as a portfolio” category, but I like Alister Lane’s unique take on the idea: natural, photorealistic textures and floating, unboxed content flowing behind a fixed footer.

Dripping with Sunshine

Alex described it as “a consciously untrendy but memorable design.”

UGSMag

WordPress as an Undergroud Hiphop Glossy
Like the music it chronicles, UGSMag looks handmade, edgy, layered, and streetwise. The cover page design uses the rule of thirds to present each new article as a graphical card.

UGS Mag

This is a very original, engaging, and non-WordPressy design.

TextureKing

WordPress as a resource library
Forgeting about its WordPress foundation, TextureKing is a really useful site in its own right, offering hundreds of free, high-resolution texture images carefully sorted into a dozen or so categories.

Texture King

It’s simple, neat, and easy to navigate.

By Alex Walker
Editor of the SitePoint Design View

The Benefits of Blogging

Writing today about the world of technological advances almost necessarily implies the creation of a blog. A blog is the ideal medium for anything related to technology because it allows to further develop concepts on a daily basis and post updates on the published topics.

And of course, all the power of Internet is in our hands, allowing us not only to link to other sources for references and further exploration, but to illustrate our points with all kinds of multimedia material, such as technical illustrations, 3D animations or video clips.

Another facet of blogging is the possibility of contrasting views and opinions with the readers, who can leave comments and messages embedded on the same post, creating a more flexible and open content venue. Most Internet-based companies have recognized the advantages of such a system towards helping them attract more clients and opening the doors to the global market through interaction within their own blogs, which makes the company seem more “human” and accessible to potential and existing clients.

There are several features that make a Blog different from a website. Blogs should be updated regularly according to the preferences of the owner or group behind it, and ideally it should keep readers eager coming back for more information. Static web pages, on the other hand, do not require the owner to update the content more than once, unless there are changes of location, staff, products or services.

Blogs can be classified according to intention. People make blogs for personal satisfaction, business, entertainment, education etc. Blogging can bring a huge amount of personal satisfaction to the authors. This is a kind of satisfaction which is different from professional achievement, especially when it changes readers’ lives for the good and helps to shape the world in a positive way, however little it might be.

A well-executed blog campaign is not rocket science. It is, however, an act of love. That’s what gets in the way for some people. Love is scary stuff.
- Hugh Mcleod

A well-executed blog campaign is not rocket science. It is, however, an act of love. That’s what gets in the way for some people. Love is scary stuff.

* Hugh Mcleod