Linked by Eugenia Loli on Sat 28th Feb 2004 08:50 UTC
Internet & Networking The second generation of OSNews' mobile web site is now up and running. The new version has an even simpler design than before which makes it much easier to render on under-featured HTML browsers, usually found on phones, PDAs or other embedded devices. The new design does not display any ads or a sidebar, but goes directly to the "meat" of the information. Read more for info & screenshots.
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Great, but a little less readable
by Gallen on Sat 28th Feb 2004 09:05 UTC

I have always appreciated OSnews's mobile version, it's great for reading on PDAs. The new version seems nice, too.

I do have to say though that perhaps a little more distinction between stories would be nice. The old one was a little more clear when stories began and ended (on the home page). This made it easier to quickly scroll through the list and scan the stories.

RE: Great, but a little less readable
by Eugenia on Sat 28th Feb 2004 09:10 UTC

Yes, this is because I took out the BORDER=1 from the news story tables, because the textmode browsers were looking very "boxy" if I had the borders ON and don't wanna do a yet different version for textmode browsers (for simplicity sake ;) . I don't believe this will be a major problem with small screen devices though. ;)

RE: Great, but a little less readable
by Eugenia on Sat 28th Feb 2004 09:14 UTC

I might turn on the borders back on though if the color version of AvantGO doesn't look good. If anyone has a screenshot of his/her color Palm with Avantgo rendering the new osnews, please send it over for me to check it out. My Palm is a PalmV and so it is not color. The PalmOS simulator is a bit of a pain to use with installed conduits like AvantGO and synchronize so I can't use it in this case.

Why not
by fasten on Sat 28th Feb 2004 10:05 UTC

Why there is no content for WAP pages?

RE: Why not
by Eugenia on Sat 28th Feb 2004 10:08 UTC

Because of major incompatibilities between WAP browsers.
There is just not a way to make sure that a WAP page that has a bit of content will even load on many (buggy) phones. It is just too risky with the current situation, so we decided to take the most simple design, just a few tags that are known to work across most phones, and only provide minimal information (just the 15 latest headlines). As many in the phone industry say, WAP sucks, and now there is proof for it: http://www.kiskeya.net/ramon/quotes/wapsucks.html :-)

v CSS
by Brian on Sat 28th Feb 2004 10:30 UTC
v RE: CSS
by Eugenia on Sat 28th Feb 2004 10:33 UTC
Efficient use of cache space
by Daniel van Eeden on Sat 28th Feb 2004 11:29 UTC

With AvantGo for Palm it's posible to 'sync' a page for offline use. With al linkdepth of one it will not only cache the article but also the printer friendly version. It's not very common to connect a palm to a printer so it's mostly useless to cache the printer friendly version. Some articles are split into 4 pages. I can only read the first page (remember the linkdepth) of such articles. The solution is to read the cached priter friendly version.

The solution is to only provide printer friendly (read one page) versions of articles to mobile users to keep the cache and required linklevel low.

RE: Efficient use of cache space
by Eugenia on Sat 28th Feb 2004 11:42 UTC

Actually this is not a good idea. This would only be a good idea for textmode browsers on fast PCs and "advanced" PDA browsers (more than 4 MB of FLASH etc).

But on phones, this would mean browser crashes or "out of memory" errors.

Just now I was talking via email to a japanese osnews reader who can't get his J-PHONE to render the whole frontpage of osnews because of memory problems (after lots of emails, he finally read in his manual that only HTML pages up to 12 KB will be rendered!). While most "normal" phones today (not smartphones) will be able to manage up to 35 KB of HTML rendering, putting a big multi-page article in a single page, it will just kill compatibility with these phones.

> It's not very common to connect a palm to a printer so it's mostly useless to cache the printer friendly version.

I disagree. If it does the job for you (instead of cashing a story.php with a multipage article), just cache the printer one instead. ;)

Doing a mobile site that is as "full" in fucntionality as the osnews one, it has a lot of "gotchas" that desktop web developers would never consider under normal circumstances. "Fixing" one kind of these browsers completely undermines the others. I tried to find a balance when designing the new site.

Empty spaces
by Zab Ert on Sat 28th Feb 2004 11:57 UTC

Eugenia, my only nitpick with the design of the site is all the empty space. I would like the main table to be width=98-100% and it seems to be, like 85-90%.

RE: Empty spaces
by Eugenia on Sat 28th Feb 2004 12:03 UTC

Please tell me what device/browser you got (helper: http://www.osnews.com/ua.php).

FYI, all tables on osnews-mobile have width of 100%. If one of the supported mobile browser doesn't do that, is its bug or it just doesn't support percentages in table widths.

T3
by mike_c on Sat 28th Feb 2004 12:14 UTC

Congratulations on the new pda site. I actually use my palm to read OSNews quite often, and the site looks excellent on my Palm T3 in both portrait and landscape views using Web Pro. I much prefer using a browser to avantgo, which doesn't offer extended screen views.

v Prioritize,
by Accipiter on Sat 28th Feb 2004 12:15 UTC
v RE: Prioritize,
by Eugenia on Sat 28th Feb 2004 12:23 UTC
RE: RE: Efficient use of cache space
by Daniel van Eeden on Sat 28th Feb 2004 13:45 UTC

> Actually this is not a good idea. This would only be
> a good idea for textmode browsers on fast PCs and
> "advanced" PDA browsers (more than 4 MB of FLASH etc).
I'm using a Palm Zire with 2MB storage for the OS, browser, ebooks and websites.

> But on phones, this would mean browser crashes or "out
> of memory" errors.
I get the point.

> putting a big multi-page article in a single page, it
> will just kill compatibility with these phones.
But now it kills compatibility with pda's and other offline readers.

> It's not very common to connect a palm to a printer so it's mostly useless to cache the printer friendly version.

> If it does the job for you just cache the printer one
> instead. ;)
Maybe it's a good idea to add a cache friendly mode to the mobile version. (some quirck line mobile.php?cachefriendly=true)

> Doing a mobile site that is as "full" in fucntionality as
> the osnews one, it has a lot of "gotchas" that desktop web > developers would never consider under normal
> circumstances. "Fixing" one kind of these browsers
> completely undermines the others. I tried to find a
> balance when designing the new site.
I know. I really like the beatifull KISS layout of both the desktop and mobile version of OSNews. It just works and looks great and renders fast. ;)

Brilliant
by Patrik Strö,stedt on Sat 28th Feb 2004 14:06 UTC

Thank you very much!

this is great
by serpico on Sat 28th Feb 2004 17:04 UTC

I can't believe all the platforms that osnews can support. Great job. I even learned about other forms of browsers like those text based ones. Oh the good old days of text and command lines !!!! LOL. Getting old man, old.

Nice Job
by Peter Besenbruch on Sat 28th Feb 2004 18:35 UTC

I want to commend OS-News for the good job they did with their mobile pages. I changed the user agent on Firefox to Lynx running under TRS-DOS to access them. Contrary to what the article said, they don't look like crap on displays over 640x480. I think they look better that the more complex, normal pages. Simplicity remains a virtue. Nice job!

ua.phpp output
by p13 on Sat 28th Feb 2004 18:49 UTC

I own an imode phone (DoCoMo).
I live in belgium, where base is the de facto provider for the imode service.
Here is the exact output from ua.php.

portalmmm/2.0
N341i(c10;TB)

hope this helps...

- Kevin

Well Done
by Richard Tough on Sat 28th Feb 2004 19:59 UTC

I don't own any sort of PDA, but its nice to know the site I read most often is more than readable on just about anything (Wish the WAP version could be expanded on a bit, but I understand your point that WAP just don't work well accross phones).
I remeber using google on WAP to load the main html page on it just to read more than the headlines on holiday last year, on a Nokia 6210 i must be obsessed ;)

RE: RE: Efficient use of cache space
by Eugenia on Sat 28th Feb 2004 20:37 UTC

> Maybe it's a good idea to add a cache friendly mode to the mobile version. (some quirck line mobile.php?cachefriendly=true)

I could bring back the "read story in a single page" link, only for the mobile browsers. I took this feature out of the desktop osnews version a year ago because sites were keep linking to that one... ;)

New PDA Owner
by KryptoBSD on Sat 28th Feb 2004 21:54 UTC

I just bought a PDA yesterday, HP iPAQ 4355 and went to OSNEWS on it a second ago, saw the story, and laughed.Site looks great on it.

Great!
by Bob on Sat 28th Feb 2004 22:05 UTC

Keep up the good work!

Hats off to you!
by sasquatch666 on Sat 28th Feb 2004 22:37 UTC

This is what I have always loved about this site,no matter how I access it it just works,Be it on Net+ in BeOS,the imbedded QNX browser on my 3com Audrey,The imbedded Browser on my Alcatel WebtouchOne Phone,or Dillo,Links or whatever in Linux.I'm a big fan of liteweight browsers and I think much stuff is way overdone on most sited,and out here in the perrimeter where I live and dialup is the only way to access the net a person wants a fast liteweight browser to speed up the process and doesnt want to compound things by using a huge slow bloated mess like IE or Mozilla,so this makes it better even on the desktop for me because I can use one of the stripped down or text based alternatives to come here,and not have to wait for a bunch of java or flash powered crap to load

Updates
by Eugenia on Sat 28th Feb 2004 23:50 UTC

Ok guys, BORDER=1 is back on tables for better readability and the "printer-friendly" page is now fully compatible with the mobile browsers (we are not denying the page --as we do in the desktop version of osnews-- if the REFERER environmental variable is not set, which is something common on phones ;)

Minimo anyone
by Ludovic Hirlimann on Sun 29th Feb 2004 06:26 UTC

I'de be interested by minimo screen schots .

--
http://perso.hirlimann.net/~ludo/blog/

yeah :)
by gullevek on Sun 29th Feb 2004 15:06 UTC

At least one page on the internet which looks out for their mobile users. Thought I didn't know it works even on my DoCo
Mo (P504iS), it always looks very cool on my Zaurus. The only thing I miss in the new versions are the little icons for articles. Is it possible to mark it with Text, or Something so you know to which group the article belongs?
*sigh* I wished other pages (slashdot, newsforge, my local newspaper, etc) had also so cool pda/mobile phone webpages.

and if my stupid digi cam battiers wouldn't be empty right now I'd post screenshots from my mobile gadgets showing osnews ;)

RE: yeah :)
by Eugenia on Sun 29th Feb 2004 18:25 UTC

> The only thing I miss in the new versions are the little icons for "related articles". Is it possible to mark it with Text, or Something so you know to which group the article belongs?

This feature still exists, it just doesn't have a different icon for each story (to save bandwidth)! ;)
It is the fourth icon (the one that looks like a pile of documents) in the row of little 16x16 icons, as seen here for example: http://www.osnews.com/img/6146/ppc2.png

Dreamcast....
by smashIt on Wed 3rd Mar 2004 19:51 UTC

Just tried it with my Dreamcast.
Your au.php says:
Mozilla/3.0 (DreamKey/2.0)


http://temp.funtech.org/DSCN0379.JPG