> Is dotMobi on developers' side? yes or no?
Developers are a neglected constituency in the mobile ecosystem. That's
why we're working hard on creating http://dev.mobi, http://ready.mobi,
etc. (Over 4,000 developers can't be wrong :-) )
A critical mass of content is required to start the cogs of the mobile
web turning, and it's still too hard to create great sites. In our own
way, we're trying to democratise and demystify mobile development.
OK. But where does that leave Vodafone? Not so simple :-)
First I'll say, I suspect they genuinely thought they could also help
kick-start the mobile web.
I don't know for sure, but I imagine that Vodafone's logic went
something like this:
1. the data tariff is flattening
2. users are going to go on-line en masse
3. we can't educate them quickly enough that they should use
made-for-mobile sites (and perhaps there aren't enough of those sites
4. so they will go to not-made-for-mobile-sites, whether we want them
to or not
5. and when they have a poor experience, they won't return - to any
type of site
I believe Vodafone's investment in dotMobi is designed to address point
3. We help identify made-for-mobile sites with the .mobi address, and
help developer build those sites (whether they use the that domain or
And I guess Vodafone's transcoding project is designed to address point
5. "At the very least, let's provide a safety net so that people who
attempt to visit crazy not-for-mobile sites have at least a sensible
(One could even see this as being a stop-gap until made-for-mobile URLs
are as colloquial as not-made-for-mobile URLs.)
And actually, I personally think this logic holds up.
But - and it's a very big BUT - logic is one thing, implementation is
another. Masking the user-agent and leaving no clues seems wholly
unnecessary. The transcoding itself has been very buggy (with images in
particular I believe). And not telling content providers ahead-of-time
so they could prepare has been revealed as a huge mistake.
So, yes. For me, the jury is still out. But I also know that little can
never be changed.
I feel a little like a negotiator for the United Nations here, but I
would add one final point. The more bellicose, and less constructive,
the mobile ecosystem becomes towards itself, the less likely it is that
any of us will see it succeed.
I agree that standardisation is a painstaking process. But it is
necessary. However, holy wars are not the only other alternative :-)