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Leveraging WURFL

From: Nathan de Vries <nathan@atnan.com>
Date: Sun, 27 Apr 2008 13:03:20 +1000
Message-Id: <447F8C55-971D-4F7A-AC6B-515724AB1A4E@atnan.com>
To: public-mwts@w3.org

Hi folks,

This was originally a comment made on the MWI Team Blog (yet to be  
approved, it seems), however I think that it's probably more  
appropriate here.

Keep in mind that since posting that comment I've had a dig through  
the archives and discovered that Dominique has already seen & used  
WURFL to distinguish whether or not a user agent is from a mobile  
device. I believe that breaking down your tests into WURFL  
"capabilities" would be beneficial to those of us already relying on  
WURFL to deliver content to mobile user agents.

The following tests from your compatibility list are currently  
covered by WURFL:

* Transparent PNG (png, transparent_png_alpha & transparent_png_index)
* HTTPS (https_support)
* SVG (svgt_1_1 & svgt_1_1_plus)
* XMLHTTPRequest (ajax__xhr_type)
* CSS (xhtml_support_level levels 2-4)

It would be trivial to add your other tests (iframe, more granular  
CSS tests, gzip, canvas, content editable etc.) to WURFL, and all  
developers presently using WURFL would benefit enormously.

My original comment below:

> In case you haven't seen it, you should take a look at <a  
> href="http://wurfl.sourceforge.net">WURFL</a> (Wireless Universal  
> Resource File). Briefly, it's a laboriously updated XML document  
> which outlines mobile devices and their capabilities.
>
> It's most frequently used by mobile developers to do a request-time  
> lookup of a phone's user agent to determine what the device is  
> capable of doing. This allows mobile content providers to maintain  
> & render differing views to devices with differing capabilities.  
> For example, you can render views with inline styles as a fallback  
> for devices without CSS support, or not provide file-uploading  
> functionality to devices incapable of uploading files.
>
> In terms of the OMA's XHTML Mobile Profile & W3Cs XHTML Basic, the  
> WURFL defines capabilities such as <pre>xhtml_table_support</pre>  
> in the <a href="http://wurfl.sourceforge.net/ 
> help_doc.php#xhtml_ui">xhtml_ui capability grouping</a>, and  
> <pre>xhtml_support_level</pre> in the <a href="http:// 
> wurfl.sourceforge.net/help_doc.php#markup">markup capability  
> grouping</a>. The latter capability describes (among other things)  
> whether or not a device has decent CSS support. It seems like the  
> groundwork has already been laid.
>
> It would be great if the various tests you're describing could be  
> broken down into individual capabilities and defined to the point  
> where the WURFL can start including which devices support them.


Cheers,

--
Nathan de Vries
Received on Sunday, 27 April 2008 17:32:05 GMT

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