February 2009

Making Wordpress mobile-friendly with plugins

Looking for a nifty way of making you Wordpress blog mobile-friendly? There are numerous plugins that aim to do just that. Some are better than others, however.

Note: I’m not talking about making the admin interface mobile-friendly, only the public site.

The plugins don’t seem to have much chatter going on in the Wordpress support forums; this can be considered a good thing: at least people aren’t complaining in droves that the plugins don’t work.

WordPress Mobile Plugin

WordPress Mobile Plugin was the first plugin I tried. The moment I clicked Active, it brought the Wordpress admin plugin page to a grinding halt. While this probably was because the server in question just didn’t allow external HTTP calls (even through port 80), it sure didn’t make a good first impression.

I basically ditched this plugin after checking out its options page. It’s way too deeply bundled with ads.

WordPress Mobile Edition

Alex King’s WordPress Mobile Edition is the plugin that I ended up using. King’s approach is to sniff the user agent string and offer mobile browsers a paired down template (it uses a cookie to keep the ”mobile state”, so desktop-testing is easy to do after forcing the mobile version). The pros to this approach is that main site is left alone, and the mobile template is easy to customize.

Just be sure that you don’t serve search engine spiders the stripped down mobile version.

The plugin works in Wordpress version 2.7.1, though the template does use some deprecated template tags. It doesn’t consider Iphone to be a mobile client, but this can be fixed if you want.

(Another way to go would be to modify the plugin to use WURFL, like done in this tutorial.)

Wordpress PDA & iPhone Plugin

Wordpress PDA & iPhone Plugin — Haven’t tried this one, but it seems similar in approach to Alex King’s, so it might be good.

Mowser Wordpress Mobile

Mowser Wordpress Mobile. The plugin detects mobile devices and uses the Mowser service to render the blog in mobile-friendly way. Generally, my experience with Mowser hasn’t been good. However, with effort, you could probably tweak you main site to work nicely with Mowser.

MobilePress

MobilePress has the nicest looking site of the plugins. But not having tried it, I can’t vouch for it. I do appreciate that it allows you to serve custom templates for Iphone, Opera Mini and Windows CE. Not sure which one would the majority of mobile browsers in the world fall under, though(did someone forget S40 and S60?).

MobilePress version 1.0.3 claims to detect Google and Yahoo bots. Why this is noteworthy, I’m not sure — surely they’re using opt-in for known devices and defaulting to the main site for unknowns?

Ilya

The forgotten tunnel under Brooklyn

A Diamond Below: “Unbeknownst to the thousands of people who walk and drive along the busy streets of downtown Brooklyn every day, they are treading on a 170 year old secret. At 17 feet high, 21 feet wide and 1,611 feet long, it is a big secret indeed, and one filled with greed, murder and corruption.”

Yet another place to visit! Via Kuutio.

Ilya
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