The secret behind the Mobile Tools module

It has been some time since I first released the Mobile Tools module on the Drupal repository (with thanks to greggles to guide me through the process of obtaining CVS access). Since its first submission I had a quick cycle of bug fixes and feature requests, often due to my impatience to release my code to the community... I have been trying to answer / fix these bugs and fixes as fast as possible. So I hope I did not loose to many among you during that dark period.

In terms of adoption we are currently clocking on stats of 206 installs and I am glad that people are keeping up by using the latest version of Mobile Tools... Looks we are heading towards a healthy uptake :) ...

With 1.8, the module has reach a fairly stable release, so time to draw some attention to the module to get some feedback or some stories. So here is quick overview of the functionality of the module... I'll try to keep up the documentation on the Drupal doc page for the module: http://drupal.org/node/459686. Let me know if things are not clear!

Why Mobile Tools

The story behind mobile tools is one that started at Siruna. I am currently working for Siruna as software architect. Siruna is a company full of mobile web specialist and we have a hosted solution to make your website mobile. This means that whatever site you have, you can make it mobile (see http://www.siruna.com and http://composer.siruna.com).

The idea rose to make our tool more accessible for Drupal users and so my brains started working in order to make some helpful modules for Drupal. After researching the current state, I came to the conclusion that no real longterm solutions existed. I saw the need to create a new project...

Functionality

To start, Mobile Tools does not have the intention to provide a mobile view for you site. For this you need one of the mobile themes around, or use the Siruna composer.

The intent of Mobile Tools is :

1. Provide a way for detecting visitors viewing your site with a mobile device. You can redirect them to a mobile site or give them a message that a mobile site exists

2. Give mobile users a mobile variant of their user role. This means that you can set specific permissions for the mobile user and control how your site behaves

3. Help in doing small things: setting number of blogposts in the frontpage, change the default frontpage, ....

4. Help in switching themes for the mobile user. Mobile Tools allows theme switching, not only based on mobile device, but also on the type of device: Android, iphone, blackberry, ...

As an extra, Mobile Tools can make use of external providers like the Browscap and the WURFL module to do the device detection.

What's next

Depending on the coming feature request I will continue to build on the mobile tools module. Things I am thinking of are:
- providing new Mobile Themes (some volunteers that can help in making these?)
- splitting above mentioned functionality in submodules, to make the module more lightweight
- using cookies to detect users preferences
- using a splash page for mobile users to give the option to visit the mobile site
- ....

I am trying to get feedback on a client by client base, so if you come across functionality needed for a client, let me know!

And exactly how do I make the site look good on mobile? ...

... is the question I come across often.
Here three solutions:
- use a mobile theme (there are almost none)
- create a mobile theme (make a basic 1 column theme)
- use the Siruna composer

And what's the secret you refered to in you title?

No secrets in making a mobile website... I recommend the trial and error method!

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