This being Day One of the brand new blog – and a mobile web blog at that – I need a blogging system that could publish blog templates for desktop and mobile browsers. I normally use Blogger. Unfortunately, their mobile focus is uploading blog content from a mobile device. I need blog software that is hosted locally on my server that publishes pages of valid markup whose design is usable from a mobile device.
Blog templates for mobile are difficult to find. Or, I’m losing my knack for effective web search.
The first (and worst) approach I found was the “hand it all over to Google” approach. Your mobile blog is Google Reader for Mobile rendering your RSS feed. Easy to achieve by prefixing your syndication URL with the URL to Google Reader:
This approach is really, really bad. Goodbye, actual mobile web design. Hello, losing your users to a megacorporation. I value optimizing my site for mobile usability and providing my users more content than straight-up article syndication. Ceding to Google is not for me. (OK, except for this ad. Gotta pay the bills.)
I did find a how-to at dotMobi for optimizing a Blogger template for mobile. The instructions are outdated and seem like hackery. For example, the author suggests hacking away the NavBar iframe by inserting HTML comments around the first <body> tag. That struck me as strange, fragile and unnecessary. Seemed indicative of spotty support for mobile templates for Blogger as a platform. Please, prove me wrong in the comments, I’d love to start loving Blogger again!
I settled on the flexible and extensible WordPress blogging platform. Many WordPress themes produce valid XHTML markup. (Valid markup is a mobile web development fundamental. Desktop browsers can handle invalid markup, but mobile browsers absolutely cannot. They fail in remarkable ways. I have witnessed invalid markup cause mobile devices to power cycle.)
Alex King has a fantastic WordPress Mobile Edition plug-in that routes mobile devices accessing a blog to an optimized mobile template. To view the mobile version of my blog, update your browser’s user-agent to impersonate a mobile device:
Nokia6630/1.0 (2.39.129) Series60/2.6 Profile/MIDP-2.0 Configuration/CLDC-1.1
And browse to: