Ryan Jones Blog – dotCULT.com Ryan Jones Blogs About Internet Culture, Marketing, SEO, & Social Media

July 3, 2007

iPhone browser drives development & New Site Announcement

Filed under: Main — Ryan Jones @ 10:38 pm

If email was the first killer app of the web, and social networking is the current one, then the iPhone web browser is going to be the killer app that revolutionizes the phone industry.

Never before have I seen so many articles about people making their websites or applications work on the iPhone. There are games made strictly for the iPhone, AIM clients made for the iPhone, and scaled down versions of Digg, Google Reader, Twitter, Flickr, and any other popular site you choose.

If anything is going to kick off the .mobi revolution than this is it! I think the iPhone is going to cause developers to start thinking about mobile phones when they develop their pages – and it’s about time. It’s where the web is going.

I know it contradicts the Berners-Lee description of the Internet. It DOES destroy an essential property of the web. I also think it’s it’s time for the web to evolve. I don’t think the phone browsers will ever be 100% the same as computer browsers. They shouldn’t be – they’re a different experience.

Anyway, in keeping with the trend I’ve put up an iPhone version of my Internet slang translator. You can check it out at NoSlang.mobi. It’s a totally scaled down version, but it’s still got all the power of the full one. Go ahead and bookmark it if you like.

Update: When I was testing stuff for the iPhone I started by fooling around with a basic rock paper scissor game. It’s very easy to code, and something fun to do. Anyway, a friend said I should release it as an iPhone app too, so I present to you: RPSgame.mobi – rock paper scissors for the iPhone.

If there’s any interest in a dotCULT version let me know and I’ll make one. If you want to be an entrepreneur, you can start coding up a WordPress plugin to make a .mobi compatible website out of your current blog. I’m sure it’d get heavy use and press.


  1. The boom in blogging about the iPhone is just one facet of the iPhone’s boon to literacy – with all the images and sounds, text is still the currency of the Web…

    Comment by Paul Levinson — July 3, 2007 @ 11:39 pm

  2. This is all wrong – Apple should be making their browser conform to web standards, not introducing more proprietary crap. If Microsoft had done this, everyone would be up in arms about it.

    Comment by Alexander — July 4, 2007 @ 3:09 am

  3. To Alexander: I don’t know what “proprietary crap” you mean.

    .mobi sites encourage the use of XHTML, CSS, and W3C Best Practices. All fairly non-proprietary last time I checked 🙂

    In general I agree that the iPhone has swivelled the spotlight around onto the whole mobile web medium. Which has to be cool for everyone…


    Comment by James — July 5, 2007 @ 7:03 am

  4. My point is – why are they ghetto-ising web for mobile devices? Wouldn’t it be better to create devices that can use the www as it is now?

    It’s not really cool for everyone, because companies have to pay twice to get a web presence on the www and now a .mobi version. It’s cool if you’re a web developer, I suppose, because now you have another revenue stream.

    With the resolution and interfaces at their disposal, I’m struggling to find any reason why mobile devices have to have a special version of the web just for them?

    Comment by Alexander — July 9, 2007 @ 8:04 am

  5. Al, that’s the point that Berners-Lee is making. Theoretically, the web should be the web.. When you start making special versions things get ugly.

    To an extent, he’s right.

    The problem with the mobile web though is size. You just can’t show a full version of something on a tiny little screen. The coding standards allow for it, but most designs don’t.

    What I’m doing with some of my .mobi sites now is just sizing stuff so that it fits better. You’ll notice the noslang version loses the main menu in favor of text links, and ditches the ad / what’s new features on the right.

    as for the more money, .mobi domains are freaking expensive. I’ll never make back $20 from that rpsgame.mobi domain (mostly because I have no ads on it).. so I have to think of it as a hobby.

    NoSlang.mobi has ads, but I’m willing to bet that nobody clicks ads on their cell phone… and that the ad landing pages look like shit when they get there.

    How long until ad companies let me say “don’t show my ads to users on mobile devices”

    Comment by Ryan — July 9, 2007 @ 9:34 am

  6. Hmmm interesting. Do you think it’s true to say that a well-coded, well-designed page will work perfectly well on a mobile device, or do you think we’ll always have to make allowances, have a separate stylesheet or have a completely separate site to serve to handhelds?

    Anybody know if there’s any reliable way to detect a mobile device is being used to view your page, and serve up a different stylesheet accordingly?

    Comment by Alexander — July 9, 2007 @ 10:02 am

  7. Yes I think a well designed site will work on a mobile device.

    The key to developing for an iphone is to use good block structure.

    The way the zoom works, is that it zooms in on whatever block you’re trying to zoom in on (p tag, div, form, textarea, etc)

    So using a css driven layout instead of a table driven layout, paragraph tags that close instead of br tags, etc will help.

    As for detecting it, yes you can. Most browsers pass it over in the headers that they’re a mobile browser. Google is using this technology on google reader to take you to the mobile version. I think there’s even a css method of doing so as well.

    Comment by Ryan — July 9, 2007 @ 10:07 am

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