I've spent a lot of time on developing with our team a mobile social network in XHTML, WML as well as numerous telco specific languages such as xDIME (t-mobile), PML (Vodafone), CHTML (i-mode) and have learnt a lot about devices and mark-up
I'm trying to co-ordinate a 'sound' methodology for developing with XHTML, taking everything I know into account.
I'd be extremely interested to get other members opinions on my suggested 'methodology/framework' of sorts and see what your thoughts on it are.
This is what I plan to do with to ensure cross phone browser compatibility:
1. Identify the core components used in it, for instance whenever we display data we display it in a white/grey 'paginated' style that displays 5 records at a time. We use a similar effect across many pages on the site, however we have not in the past taken care to ensure that the code for the markup is exactly identical. Theres lots of other examples, if you imagine something similar to Visual Basic components I guess thats what we are trying to break it down. Anything that is similar, our goal is to call it a component.
2. Break down all these components on to seperate XHTML pages, one component per page.
3. Due to the nature of this project, the immense size of the application (100+ pages), and the fact we want to make new additions to the product in a very rapid fashion we can not afford to manage various versions of the XHTML site as some content developers do. Instead, we need to work on a lowest 'common denominator' style of development that while it might look absolutely fantastic on *any* handset, however the point is that it will work on popular phones and looks respectable.
So this step involves identifying key members of handset families, for instance I have noticed the browser on the 6680 is very similar to the 3230, 3250, 6600, 6680, 7610, etc. I have no doubt that the browsers are not *exactly* similar, however relatively speaking they are.
My job is to identify one or two handsets in each family from many different manufacturers (I'm sorry if I'm speaking out of school here about other carriers, but developing for the mobile internet means allowing as many people to access content as possible, but Nokia should be happy, chances are any content developed will be seen on their handsets the most because they are the global market leaders ).
My question to the board is, do you know any sound ways to identify the key family handsets, without simply saying 'Series 60 handsets'. Unless of course you think that this is suitable.
4. As discussed above in 2) regarding components, the next step is to insure that all components work across all members of the family handsets. This will obviously be a lot of back and forward testing as we identify which handsets are the ones that will work the best.
5. The next step is to test multiple components working together (i.e. putting the standard page header, along with a title, along with a standard paging display as explained above and then the standard footer) and ensuring these work across all family handsets.
6. In theory, we should now have a 'methodology' for rolling out this on handsets, and we know when new handsets come out that are part of a new family we have to run the same process again. We can then make the changes to the site using the 'component's and fingers crossed we will now have a site that is very robust and looks good.
What are your thoughts on this? I would be extremely interested to get your insight, I am also happy to discuss with you anything else I've learnt in detail that I might have skipped over above.
I hope that this strategy might benefit some other content developers too! Also forgive me if this, or similar things have been discussed a lot on this board already, I'm pretty new, if there are other interesting resources you recommend here I would appreciate it greatly.