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Re: [wmlprogramming] Using WURFL or UAProf?

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  • Nestor Urquiza
    Hello Geoff, WURFL and UAprof are not necessarily mutually exclusive databases. UAProf is a URL that is supposed to carry all capabilities for the device.
    Message 1 of 5 , Dec 31, 2006
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      Hello Geoff,

      WURFL and UAprof are not necessarily mutually
      exclusive databases. UAProf is a URL that is supposed
      to carry all capabilities for the device. WURFL is an
      XML file that carries the same information.

      UAProf is *official* data provided by the device
      manufacturer and/or network provider while WURFL is
      data that comes from real world after developers
      identify capabilities as a result of real tests in
      production environments.

      Both data holders might have bugs of course and
      neither of them are perfect. However WURFL is more
      complete just becuase there are devices that do not
      carry UAProf as part of HTTP headers.

      PDAs being younger than simply WAP1 devices might
      carry always UAProf. I do not know. If yes then UAProf
      would be better than WURFL for your case since
      automatically you get the capabilities for all devices
      and you do not have to wait for that new device to be
      identified and manually provissioned in WURFL file.

      I have been doing markup rendering on the fly for some
      years ... first it was just a matter of reading the
      Accept header, then WURFL, then UAProf and pretty much
      all of them together.

      The easiest way I found to render different markup
      according to the device was using generic XML carrying
      the data to be rendered and then XSLT to present the
      markup.

      Having an application that accept the complete
      User-Agent HTTP header and returns back the
      capabilities is a most if you want to apply DRY.

      Your Controller (considering you implement the MVC
      design pattern in your framework) can access that
      application (WEB Service, RMI you name it) using
      functions like isXHTML(), isXHTML-MP(),
      isXHTMLBASIC(), isHTML(), isWML(), isCHTML() etc and
      just decide the template to render.

      You obtain a great separation of concerns for your
      VIEWER part using XSLT but your web designers must
      know basic XSLT which is not that hard since the only
      thing they have to do is to iterate to render lists or
      use parameters or variables to output results. If
      complex logic is needed to render you can provide
      external XSLT templates to be used by designers inside
      their templates.

      The final work is very stable and easy to maintain I
      must say as my projects show.

      If you have a small project of course where just few
      developers take care of everything (markup rendering,
      business logic, data storage) you might find useful
      just to use your preferred language and WURFL has APIs
      for practically all of them.

      I have posted several times my idea about a WURFL Web
      Service (look in the forum archives) and one of them
      is to use eXist native XML database to build such a
      service that will simply provide the capabilities or a
      special capability for a given User-Agent. Take a look
      at
      http://thinkinginsoftware.blogspot.com/2006/11/user-agent-capabilities-http-service.html
      for more information.

      Thanks and good luck!,

      -Nestor

      --- geoff freed <geoff_freed@...> wrote:

      >
      > Hello, Everyone:
      >
      > I am a researcher at the National Center for
      > Accessible Media at
      > the WGBH Educational Foundation in Boston, MA
      > (http://ncam.wgbh.org).
      > On behalf of a client, I am investigating methods of
      > effectively
      > transmitting usable, appropriately reformatted Web
      > sites to wireless
      > devices, especially PDAs. I've been reading a lot
      > about WURFL and UAProf,
      > and would like to hear from developers who have
      > actually implemented these
      > technologies. I'd like to know about Web sites that
      > are delivered using
      > WURFL or UAProf, and I'd like to know how much time
      > and trouble it cost to
      > put these approaches into use, as well as if they
      > are judged to be
      > effective.
      >
      > If you'd like to respond, please send a message to
      > me off-list.
      >
      > Thanks very much for your time!
      > Geoff Freed
      > Project Manager
      > Carl and Ruth Shapiro Family National Center for
      > Accessible Media
      > WGBH Educational Foundation
      > geoff_freed@...
      > http://ncam.wgbh.org
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
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      >


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    • geoff freed
      ... Actually, my job is to gather the information and help this particular client make the best decision regarding solutions for mobile delivery, and
      Message 2 of 5 , Dec 31, 2006
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        Hi, Luca:

        > geoff freed wrote:
        >
        > >Hello, Everyone:
        > >
        > >I am a researcher at the National Center for Accessible Media at the
        > >WGBH Educational Foundation in Boston, MA (http://ncam.wgbh.org).
        > >On behalf of a client, I am investigating methods of effectively
        > >transmitting usable, appropriately reformatted Web sites to wireless
        > >devices, especially PDAs. I've been reading a lot about WURFL and
        > >UAProf, and would like to hear from developers who have actually
        > >implemented these technologies. I'd like to know about Web
        > sites that
        > >are delivered using WURFL or UAProf, and I'd like to know
        > how much time
        > >and trouble it cost to put these approaches into use, as well as if
        > >they are judged to be effective.
        > >
        > >
        > I don't quite understand if you are thinking of building a
        > mobile site from scratch or if you are looking for ways to
        > dynamically reformat an existing web site.

        Actually, my job is to gather the information and help this particular
        client make the best decision regarding solutions for mobile delivery, and
        eventually the client will do the building. So I guess the answer to your
        question is really "both." Because this client has a large number of pages
        that will need to be made available to mobile devices, I'm thinking that the
        dynamic-reformatting approach may be the most efficient, as well as the most
        cost-effective. But I need to research all options.

        >I suggest you read
        > this and come back with more specific questions later:
        >
        > http://www.passani.it/gap/

        I will definitely read this carefully. Thanks for the lead.

        > >If you'd like to respond, please send a message to me off-list.
        > >
        > >
        > this is not good netiquette. Public questions should be
        > answered publicly, unless there are special reasons not to do so.

        Sorry-- I didn't mean to preclude answers on the list. I wanted to give a
        private-response option to those who didn't want to divulge potentially
        sensitive information. Public answers are, of course, welcome!

        Thanks.
        Geoff
      • Luca Passani
        ... I wouldn t be so sure. First, it s operators who set up the infrastructure for such dynamic reformatting. There are some free services on the internet
        Message 3 of 5 , Jan 2, 2007
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          geoff freed wrote:

          > I'm thinking that the
          >dynamic-reformatting approach may be the most efficient, as well as the most
          >cost-effective. But I need to research all options.
          >
          >
          I wouldn't be so sure. First, it's operators who set up the
          infrastructure for such dynamic reformatting. There are some free
          services on the internet though. Here is a list of companies in that space:

          http://www.widerweb.com/
          http://www.infogin.com/
          http://www.skweezer.com/
          http://mobileleap.net/

          Google offers the same service too. There are at least another 4 or 5
          smaller companies that offer the same.
          I would also keep in mind that, no matter how good the reformatting
          process is, you will never get near the usability levels of a site built
          for mobile from the ground up. Developers know what makes sense to
          access on a mobile device and what doesn't better than programs. And I
          haven't even mentioned all the flash, frames, javascript, that you
          typically find on web pages and which cannot be ported to mobile

          Luca
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