Interoperability of Phones and PDAs with the Web

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I’ts Christmas day, and I’m launching a new Website designed as a catalyst to improve how cellphones, PDAs, and desktop computers work on the Web and with each other. is not only a place to read about my adventures in testing all the latest technology, but will also serve as a testbed for hardware and software developers to test their latest creations against, to see how well they support Web standards, along with many other interoperability standards.

I created this site out of my continual frustration at how poorly today’s so-called 21st-century technology works. Nothing about this site is, or will ever be, designed to be backwards-compatible. It is pure XHTML, with automatic content negotiation between a rich XHTML 1.1 version designed for desktop browsers, TV browswers—and an XHTML Mobile Profile (a.k.a. XHTML-MP/WAP 2.0) version with similar but simplified content for each page designed for mobile phones and PDAs. Archived blog postings will be served as XHTML Basic—a limited version of XHTML designed to work on both desktop browsers and mobile phone browsers.

If your favorite browser can’t view the site, then it is the problem, not my site design or coding. As I test different browsers, phones, and other software against the interoperability test suites, I will give each a grade describing its performance. For some tests, it will be a simple Pass/Fail, while for others, it will be a more descriptive letter grade.

Test 001

Browser support for XHTML-only content and server-side XHTML/XHTML-MP content negotiation. The site has no HTML markup on it, only pure XHTML, served with the proper MIME types. Most desktop browsers other than Internet Explorer pass, and all phone browsers that I have tested fail. Interestingly, Pocket IE on Windows Mobile 2003 passes, though its rendering is not even close to pretty.

Author: Peter Sheerin

Peter Sheerin is best known for the decade he spent as the Technical Editor of CADENCE magazine, where he was the acknowledged expert in Computer-Aided Design hardware and software. He has a long-standing passion for improving usability of software, hardware, and everyday objects that is always interwoven in his articles. Peter is available for freelance technical writing and product reviews, and is exploring career opportunities in interaction design. His pet personal project is exploring the best ways to harmonize visual, tactile, and audible symbols for improving the effectiveness of alerting systems.

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