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Your Mobile Phone Number is not Safe with your Mobile Operator

There has been a lot of fuss today about mobile network O2 handing out the mobile numbers of its customers to websites that they visit.

That's clearly an unfortunate occurrence, and O2 users as well as the web in general were understandably outraged. But what surprised me was not that it happened at all, it was the fact that the public really don't understand quite how widely it was happening already.

Continue reading Your Mobile Phone Number is not Safe with your Mobile Operator »

Posted on Wednesday, the 25th of January, 2012 | permalink | comments (1)

MongoDB Support for Tera-WURFL

This is just a quick heads up to point out that Tera-WURFL now has support for using MongoDB as its data store. This is particularly exciting for me, since I contributed the original code. I've been benefiting from Tera-WURFL for years now, so it's pleasing that our ongoing migration to MongoDB at work provided an opportunity to give something back.

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Posted on Thursday, the 2nd of September, 2010 | permalink | comments (2)

Making Phone Calls and Sending SMS with HTML

Okay, so you can't really make phone calls and send SMS messages using only HTML; that would be silly. However, if you are developing web sites and web applications for mobile handsets, you can take advantage of some features in XHTML Mobile Profile which make it easy for a user to call a number without typing that number in. You can also use the same mechanism to trigger - on the user's handset - an SMS or MMS dialog with the intended recipient's number and the message content prepopulated.

That this can all be done by creating a specially-formatted HTML link on a web page is one of the most convenient, if occasionally misunderstood features of XHTML-MP. This post will tell you everything you need to know in order to take advantage of this feature.

Continue reading Making Phone Calls and Sending SMS with HTML »

Posted on Tuesday, the 19th of January, 2010 | permalink | comments (11)

Mobile-Friendly Short URLs with Wag.gd

A few weeks ago I quietly launched Wag.gd, which is what I like to think of as a mobile-friendly URL shortening service. It's "mobile-friendly" in the sense that the URLs which it generates are designed to be exceptionally convenient to type on a standard mobile handset keypad. It's time to introduce the service to the wider world, and look in a bit more depth at what I've tried to achieve with the site and how I've gone about it.

Continue reading Mobile-Friendly Short URLs with Wag.gd »

Posted on Monday, the 28th of December, 2009 | permalink | comments (2)

A First Look at the New WURFL API for PHP

About a month ago, the New WURFL API for PHP was officially released. While the code had been available in one form or another for some time, the official release coincided nicely with the early stages of a new project at work, so it seemed like an appropriate time to have a look at the API and see if it was something we wanted to use.

By way of a refresher, WURFL is a "Device Description Repository" - a huge open-source XML-based database of information regarding mobile handsets and their capabilities. I've discussed WURFL in the past, for example here. Prior to this release, the only practical method of querying WURFL in real time from PHP was via a library named Tera-WURFL, which I blogged about here. In fact, both WURFL and Tera-WURFL were covered in an article I wrote for php|architect magazine last year.

We've generally been very happy with Tera-WURFL, but it's always worth considering one's options, so what follows is an overview of my experiences with, and first impressions of the New WURFL API.

Continue reading A First Look at the New WURFL API for PHP »

Posted on Monday, the 20th of April, 2009 | permalink | comments (5)

"PHP Tools for Mobile Web Development" Published

Posted on Tuesday, the 29th of July, 2008 | permalink | comments (1)

Mobilising a Website, Part 2: Strategies

In Mobilising a Website, Part 1: The Problem I noted that this site is practically unusable when viewed using the browser on a mobile handset, and that I'd like to do something about that.

This time around, I'd like to size up some of the approaches and strategies that developers can take in order to make an existing website mobile-friendly.

Continue reading Mobilising a Website, Part 2: Strategies »

Posted on Saturday, the 26th of July, 2008 | permalink | comments (1)

Mobilising a Website, Part 1: The Problem

It hasn't escaped my notice that if one happens to visit Pointbeing.net - this very site - using the browser on a mobile phone, the experience is more than a little painful. In fact, more often than not, the site is simply unusable.

The reason for this is that the site does not adapt itself in any way to the smaller screens, slower connection speeds, and idiosyncratic navigation methods found in mobile devices.

In my defence, this is not unusual right now: many, many sites are in the same position (have you ever tried to visit LinkedIn on a mobile?). However, given my faith in the future of the mobile web, and also given what I do for a living [1], this is something of an embarassment. The time has come to mobilise Pointbeing.net.

Continue reading Mobilising a Website, Part 1: The Problem »

Posted on Sunday, the 29th of June, 2008 | permalink | comments (0)

My php|architect Article to be Published in June

Posted on Sunday, the 1st of June, 2008 | permalink | comments (1)

The End of Mowser is Not the End of the Mobile Web

In the last few days there has been a certain amount of rather sensationalistic and poorly informed commentary floating around on tech sites and blogs, predicting the immediate death of the mobile web. For example, this piece on CNET, and The Register's dramatically titled A Requiem for the Mobile Web.

And what is the basis for this doom-and-gloom mongering? Well, it turns out that a poorly-marketed twelve-month-old startup, named Mowser, which has never been able to attract VC, and seemingly staked its future entirely on its ability to attract VC, has called it a day.

That's it.

Continue reading The End of Mowser is Not the End of the Mobile Web »

Posted on Thursday, the 24th of April, 2008 | permalink | comments (0)

An Introduction to Fire Eagle

A definite highlight of Over the Air 2008 was London-based Yahoo Steve Marshall's introduction to Fire Eagle. For those not in the loop (which, to be fair, is most people: Fire Eagle is currently only open to a limited number of invited developers) Fire Eagle is Yahoo!'s brand new API for location-based services.

Continue reading An Introduction to Fire Eagle »

Posted on Saturday, the 5th of April, 2008 | permalink | comments (4)

An Introduction to Tera-WURFL

I recently added a post about Wurfl, a comprehensive open-source XML database of mobile device capabilities. I noted that actually querying Wurfl in a performant manner:

is going to be a non-trivial task, and is perhaps a topic for a further article.

Well, I guess this is that article. It's time to have a look at Tera-WURFL, which is perhaps the most popular tool for querying Wurfl programmatically - from PHP, at least.

Continue reading An Introduction to Tera-WURFL »

Posted on Tuesday, the 11th of March, 2008 | permalink | comments (3)

A Brief Glossary of Mobile Jargon

A few terms that seem to get bandied about in the industry. I'll probably add to this over time.

Continue reading A Brief Glossary of Mobile Jargon »

Posted on Thursday, the 14th of February, 2008 | permalink | comments (0)

Managing Mobile and Non-mobile Versions of a Site Using Tera-WURFL and Zend Framework

This is a quick proof-of-concept I put together after a discussion on how to deal with running a mobile site and a 'full' web site on the same hostname in a sane way, and to transparently route user agents to the appropriate site.

Continue reading Managing Mobile and Non-mobile Versions of a Site Using Tera-WURFL and Zend Framework »

Posted on Tuesday, the 12th of February, 2008 | permalink | comments (3)

Mobile Device Detection: WURFL and UAProf

Posted on Wednesday, the 17th of October, 2007 | permalink | comments (0)