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developing for handheld

Sent by Jonny Axelsson on 24 January 2005 20:08


On Mon, 24 Jan 2005 18:43:06 -0000, Syntactic: Jim Wilkinson  
[EMAIL-REMOVED]> wrote:

>> @media handheld is going to be the way out.
>
> Did you mean to advocate the use of @media specifically? If so, why? My  
> understanding is that the <link> element is a more reliable  
> (cross-browser) way of invoking media-dependent stylesheets. See Karen's  
> points 2 and 3 on the Wiki page.

To clarify: I meant that generically (@media <type>, @import <url> <type>,  
<link media="<type>", <style media="<type>">, <?xml-stylesheet  
media="<type>"?>). My experience is the same as yours, that media="<type>"  
is the form I would prefer to give myself the least headache (and the  
xml-stylesheet PI and @import the ones that would cause the most pain).

A few comments to the Wiki page:
1. Yes "WAP2" is glossing over that "WAP1" was a blind alley, and that  
generally refers to XHTML Mobile Profile. There is also WML 2, which is a  
combination of backwards compatibility to WML 1.* and XHTML Basic. WML2 is  
thus a slightly smaller XHTML profile than XHTML Mobile Profile 1.*, but  
with added WML1 features.
2. Agreed.
3. Yes, but. There is an issue with latency (delay) that can be very high  
for phones. External style sheets are more efficient and easier to  
maintain, but incurs at least one (slow) roundtrip the first time around.  
If I were to really optimise for phones I would add the most crucial  
styles in an embedded 'style' section. After the first page, when the  
style sheet is cached, this problem largely disappear.
4. This is annoying. Not sure what is the best strategy yet.
5. This is what we do and are proud of it...
6. Yes, use display:none a lot, but please don't go overboard and remove  
content users actually want to see on their phones/PDAs.
7. Yep. They are also emulators so even for Opera there is no guarantee  
(especially as as phones out there right now use Opera 6 as use Opera 7).  
Don't forget to add the handheld style sheet, otherwise all you will test  
is Opera's SSR, which is totally useless to indicate how it will appear  
in  other browsers. A couple Opera features are useful for other purposes,  
the G key to turn off graphics (is is not uncommon to browse with images  
off; this also is good for accessibility testing) and Ctrl+G to change to  
Author/User styles (which by default will turn off CSS, which is a good  
simulation of browsers without CSS capabilities).

"People who get Internet access on a handheld are more likely to be the  
ones who would be upgrading to newer, better devices,"
It doesn't quite work this way. For some it does, and we keep the newest  
versions available on our web sites. But embedded devices first have a  
very long (relative to desktop) testing and integration phase and there  
will be a large group that won't or can't upgrade their browser for a  
number of reasons. I am not ashamed over Opera 6, but I was somewhat  
dismayed when I realized in 2003 that Opera 6 will be around until the end  
of 2006. All new customers use Opera 7 (now Opera 8), but embedded devices  
live for a very long time. We try not make awkward mistakes that web  
designers will have to live with for 3-4 years into the future.

-- 
Jonny Axelsson,
Web Standards,
Opera Software ASA
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