W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-ddwg@w3.org > July 2005

RE: Mobile phone capabilities list?

From: Luca Passani <luca.passani@openwave.com>
Date: Fri, 22 Jul 2005 13:44:42 +0200
To: <public-ddwg@w3.org>
Cc: <www-mobile@w3.org>
Message-ID: <BFS-FE-PRD1sMbGzsGQ00000071@bfs-fe-prd1.myopwv.com>

Hi Tim, 


no problem about Bango not finding WURFL suitable for their needs. This is
totally understandable, since WURFL is 
meant to be a solution for medium- and small-sized shops.

What brought me to create WURFL was my position with Developer Marketing at

Obviously, promoting the Openwave WAP SDK was no longer much of an exciting
story in 2002 for third-party developers,

so I figured out that I would either change job or become *very* proactive
in addressing developer needs regardless

of the fact that I was on virtually no budget. 

My goal was to create a tool that would help "two guys in a garage"
companies address what I had been perceiving

as the biggest problem in the industry since late 99: fragmentation of the
browser market.

Andrea and I did a good job, since most people are pretty happy with it. 

Big companies (with large budgets) can always buy commercial products such
as Volantis or Drutt in order to get 

the kind of "certified" device info their business model demands.

I am not arguing that WURFL data is good enough for everyone. It's good
enough for most people and,

above all, easily fixable as soon as an error is found.  This makes WURFL
popular. Improving on that would

bring WURFL beyond the objective it was born to serve: help content
providers who already operate on small margins

(but which are very important for Openwave's ecosystem) to create more cool
wireless apps.


WRT Microsoft mobile controls, I would argue that developers are not so
extremely happy with it:




As a Microsoft-based developer (.NET, ASP,NET, etc), I can say without
a doubt that WURFL's steady growth and updates due to the community's
additions and patches puts this project in a far better position than
Microsoft's own adaptive rendering projects (ASP.NET, the .NET mobile
controls).  You can find workarounds that will allow ASP.NET to
recognize gecko browsers as being better than Netscape 4.7, but
Microsoft doesn't bother updating their browser capabilities section
themselves.   They actually point to Cyscape instead, saying that
Cyscape is in charge of maintaining the .NET browsercaps.  But the
page they point to on Cyscape's site has said "we're working on a new
version" since day one of .NET v1.0 (4 years ago).
So I have to hack up my own browsercaps sections for the .NET sites I
do just to get a decent HTML output sent to Firefox, I can't imagine
trying to keep up with mobile device updates...  
WURFL is a lifesaver.



Maybe it wouldn't be a bad idea for Bango to embrace WURFL and help develop
the testing framework and/or 

testing process which would make the framework serve your needs too. As an
aside, we already have something along those lines:




docs: http://www.ukmedia.us/i/docs/index.jsp





From: public-ddwg-request@w3.org [mailto:public-ddwg-request@w3.org] On
Behalf Of Tim Moss
Sent: 21 July 2005 14:15
To: Rotan Hanrahan; public-ddwg@w3.org
Cc: www-mobile@w3.org; Steve Parker
Subject: RE: Mobile phone capabilities list?


I believe that a repository where over time device information is marked as
'trusted' or 'verified' in some way will be very helpful.


Bango looked briefly at WURFL quite some time ago and found that it wasn't
going to help us much at the time.  This is not a criticism of WURFL, it
just didn't meet our needs.


In particular we found that for specific devices the information would not
necessarily be complete, clearly this is likely to improve over time as the
information for a device is added to but it is far from convenient to
programmatically check that all capabilities are present in an entry before
considering using it or falling back to defaults.  

A flag or field stating whether or not the entry was complete, and/or
trusted/verified would be much simpler.


Another issue comes from the understanding of the semantics of the
individual devices capabilities which clearly varies from tester to tester.
A device's screen resolution is frequently not the same as its 'usable
display resolution' as the browser on the device takes up display space with
menus, header areas, margins around the page etc.



We currently use the mobile controls from the Microsoft .NET Framework, and
whilst Microsoft themselves supply device capability information, this is
updated infrequently and therefore tends to cover devices that are
considerably behind the market trends.

Bango therefore have to amend and add to the information supplied by
Microsoft, but they don't have any method for allowing us to contribute this
information to the community by including it in future updates of their
configuration files.


One thing they do supply is a quite nice device capability testing suite; a
set of interactive tests that the tester runs through on the device in
question with the final result being an output of the device capability
information in the correct format to add to the MS configuration files.


Could something similar be employed to help automat the process of
'verifying' device information and ensuring that it is complete?


However even with such an approach you need to trust that the person
carrying out the testing answers the interactive tests correctly.  It would
be easy for someone for example to pay attention to the areas they are
specifically interested in and quickly skip through the rest of the tests...



Tim Moss




From: public-ddwg-request@w3.org [mailto:public-ddwg-request@w3.org] On
Behalf Of Rotan Hanrahan
Sent: 21 July 2005 09:20
To: public-ddwg@w3.org
Cc: www-mobile@w3.org; Steve Parker
Subject: RE: Mobile phone capabilities list?

Several companies create and maintain their own validated device information
repositories, which are supersets of the information available in public.
However, it takes great effort to create these repositories and they are
generally created in support of specialised products. As a consequence,
these repositories are out of reach because they are expensive. I am pleased
to report that certain key suppliers of such repositories/products are
participating in W3C MWI, with the hope that their experience may be applied
to the situation that you suggest is the case today. An extensible,
accurate, verified, trusted baseline repository of device descriptions is
one of the items on the table, which requires the participants to examine
carefully how such a repository might operate. Much of the work will be
conducted with input from the wider community, so I welcome and encourage
the feedback expressed on the public lists.




-----Original Message-----
From: Steve Parker [mailto:sparker@well.com]
Sent: 21 July 2005 00:30
To: Rotan Hanrahan; Holley Kevin (Centre); www-mobile@w3.org
Cc: public-ddwg@w3.org
Subject: RE: Mobile phone capabilities list?

Formally, these are certainly the right standards/groups, but the track
record is disappointing in practise. In my experience, the UAProf info
actually supplied is not necessarily accurate or complete. The URLs are not
always present or correct. There is no mechanism or procedure for correcting
it - its entirely at the manufacturers' whim. Even when the data are ok,
there's a lot of useful parameters missing from the standard. There's
supposed to be a Java API, but I had to report a bug in the JSR reference
implementation months after it was approved. It's very frustrating to anyone
actually trying to cater for all the different devices right now. Standards
are one thing, but to get something working, now, WURFL is the only show in
town. I'm not an open source zealot, but WURFL has gone further faster than
the standards bodies. It works as advertised, it's responsive, it's simple
to use, it's user extensible.



-----Original Message-----
From: www-mobile-request@w3.org [mailto:www-mobile-request@w3.org]On Behalf
Of Rotan Hanrahan
Sent: Wednesday, July 20, 2005 2:07 PM
To: Holley Kevin (Centre); www-mobile@w3.org
Cc: public-ddwg@w3.org
Subject: RE: Mobile phone capabilities list?

The UAProf information, where provided and validated, can provide some
essential and objective information about mobile devices. It has been
recognised, however, that in many domains of content authoring and
adaptation that such information is insufficient. The DDWG will be exploring
the bigger picture, and looking at ways that a general device description
repository could be achieved, such that it can encompass UAProf and other
sources of information, avoiding replication of services, and providing the
necessary features of discovery, trust, efficiency and related information
management issues. The DDWG is specifically directed to liaise with UAProf
and other related groups to this end. Planned W3C Notes will explain in
further detail, and these shall get a public airing during this year. Input
from interested parties via the public mailing list will be encouraged. The
group will also solicit specific information from key parties where


I hope this adds some clarity.




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Received on Friday, 22 July 2005 11:46:36 UTC

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