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W3C announces best practices for mobile web

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has brought key players from the mobile phone industry to the virtual table for an agreement on best practices for mobile web content, the group has announced. The framework, 'Mobile Web Application Best Practices', aims to foster cooperatio...

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has brought key players from the mobile phone industry to the virtual table for an agreement on best practices for mobile web content, the group has announced. The framework, 'Mobile Web Application Best Practices', aims to foster cooperation between industry giants to build a more positive experience in the mobile environment. The project is funded in part by the MOBIWEBBAPP (Mobile web applications for future internet services') which is supported under the 'Information and communication technologies' (ICT) Theme of EU's Seventh Framework Programme (FP7). MOBIWEBBAPP is led by W3C, an industry consortium of more than 350 members from research and industry, directed by Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the web. 'Mobile web applications best practices' condenses the experience of many mobile web stakeholders into practical advice for creating content that will work well on any mobile device. Developers and other content producers will value the shared experience of how to create web applications that make browsing convenient on mobile devices and to avoid known pitfalls. Today, you can get almost any web site on a mobile phone at an almost-reasonable speed and cost, once you sign up for a data plan with your phone company. You can send and receive e-mail from your regular account. For consumers, it is convenient and even cool. But for business users, it can be a critical mobile tool. Still, it's a far cry from using the Internet on a personal computer. And that is one of the reasons behind the MOBIWEBBAPP project which put together a research, academic and technology group to hash out how to make the mobile internet a well-oiled machine. Specifically, the best practices were developed by a working group made up of representatives from some of the European and US industry giants including AT&T, Deutsche Telecom, France Telecom, Google, Hewlett-Packard, Opera Software, Vodafone, Volantis. One of their goals was to come up with a list of best practices that all companies in the mobile internet chain would follow. That chain includes phone makers, developers of software for phone browsers and e-mail, mobile phone carriers and the companies that put together web pages to begin with. The common sense behind these best practices, which have just been published, is in fact a model for how personal computers should - but don't always - behave while on the web. If the guidelines are followed, the mobile phone universe could be like a well-rounded, mature version of the Internet found on the personal computer (PC). It's taken some time for this document to progress to this point, mainly because of the multitude of web applications. Web notifications, web Events, and geolocation working groups are bringing out a wealth of JavaScript APIs (application programming interfaces) that promise to reduce the gap between web and native applications in many computers. A similar trend is expected in mobile devices. The document examines in detail which web technologies are relevant on mobile devices; highlights various APIs for use in Web applications; and explains both how to follow the suggestions it offers and what each suggestion means. 'I am very excited about this document, which I've already used myself to ensure that the W3C Cheat Sheet, a mobile Web application, works not just on mobile devices, but on all devices,' said Dominique Hazael-Massieux, W3C mobile web initiative leader. 'These guidelines include sound advice from real-world web applications developers, telecommunications companies, and browser vendors.'

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