Anne van Kesteren

.mobi Strikes Back

Plans to kill .mobi during its inception have failed. I suppose mentioning “braindead” three times in a single post is just over the top. Now there’s which redirects you to and provides you with fancy tutorials on how to do user agent sniffing in PHP. The code lets you redirect users going to to either or based on the user agent. It’s fricking brilliant.

What’s even better is this thing named WURFL: Authoring Guidelines for the Mobile Web that make more sense than the W3C stuff. Now parts of the Mobile Web Best Practices 1.0 document do look like a joke, but I assume that’s to be expected from a 1.0 version. Or from the W3C. It’s not like there are that many browsers supporting XHTML at all on mobile phones. WURFL seems an even bigger joke though. It gives you a giant database full of user agent information so you can provide 423 different versions of your site. When a new type of phone comes out you can simply add another version and all will be fine. Companies involved in this crap probably earn lots of money from stupid companies and governments.

Braindead, braindead, braindead. (With apologies to Michael Barrish.)


  1. The only thing I'm capable of thinking when reading this is OMG!

    Posted by Asbjørn Ulsberg at

  2. It says a lot about the world, that you didn't post this on April 1st.

    Posted by Devon at

  3. Specifically what don't you like about the W3C's MWBP? Could you do a post on this?

    Posted by Justin Thorp at

  4. Making content that works well and is highly usable on mobile devices can be hard. Some reasons that come to mind:

    I just want to encourage everyone who can contribute to improving this miserable situation to do so.

    Posted by Guido Grassel at

  5. See how website will look in a mobile ! :D

    Try the following websites:

    You can clearly see that that completly broken emu-something can't even render browser developer's websites.
    Besides, Opera comes in Nokia N70! Not that broken renderer.

    Posted by Joao Eiras at

  6. Nice. These are awesome times for our industry. By the way, New Top Level Domains .mobi and .xxx Considered Harmful's still a great reading.

    Posted by Jens Meiert at

  7. Who are the current powers behind .mobi in general and in particular?

    What’s Nokia’s current relationship to .mobi now that Nokia ships a WebKit-based browser on S60r3?

    Posted by Henri Sivonen at

  8. But you only have to worry about these guidelines if your sites under a .mobi, right?

    Posted by James John Malcolm (AkaXakA) at

  9. Anne, why don't you get a fucking clue before you blog? WURFL is not about adding yet another version whenever a new device comes up. Quite the opposite in fact. WURFL is about building applications that will work with current and future devices with minimal effort.

    Also, since WURFL is open-source, we (I and Andrea Trasatti) are making it for the glory and not for the money (which is zero multiplied by thousands of downloads)

    Luca Passani

    Posted by Luca Passani at

  10. Luca, that would stop me from getting silly comments.

    Posted by Anne van Kesteren at

  11. An absolutely vacuous post that spurns legitimate efforts in an emerging area of web development, probably more due to arrogant ignorance than to vindictiveness.

    As an aside, I'd like to add, as a developer, that WURFL would be useful even if it contained nothing but screen-dimensions of devices; it has, however, much more.

    Brain-dead indeed?

    Posted by Kevin Sangeelee at

  12. Dude, we’re in 2008 now. Mobile phones have browsers that can actually render the Web.

    Posted by Anne van Kesteren at