Comments about mobileOK Basic Tests 1.0 (11th June 2007)

Dan Connolly started a please reivew mobileOK Basic Tests 1.0 thread on the HTMLWG mailing list on 2007-06-07. For a long time I’ve thought the work being done by the Mobile Web Initiative is nonsense.

There were already some detailed responses about technicalities in the mobileOK work. But the really important thing is that to pass mobileOK you must avoid HTML. So this is what I commented on...accidentally top-posting like a total n00b.

Here’s what I wrote, reformatted in HTML:

On Monday, June 11, 2007 at 12:04 PM, Henri Sivonen wrote:

The draft is premised on a vision about mobile browsing that assumes special mobile content. Instead of implying a separate Mobile Web, I think the W3C should push for one World Wide Web with mobile browsers that can access general Web content.


The premise of mobileOK seems to be that you take the non-Web-ready thin browser and expect origin servers out there take special steps to accommodate it.

This is a fundamental criticism I have of the mobileOK guidelines. Mobile phone networks here in the UK have been promoting their “access the whole Web on your phone” capabilities for years. They can even do scripting (Raising the bar of mobile browsing).

Because so much web content is text/html, surely it is more useful to work on improving support for that in UAs? Mainstream mobile UAs already have better support for HTML than XHTML, many having no support at all for XHTML (Results of mobile tests). I can browse the text/html Web fine on my mobile phone in the here-and-now.

PDF and Word documents are also more common than XML formats on the web, in my experience. Improving support for them would surely be the next logical priority after HTML?

Advising against W3C technologies such as HTML and PNG seems like a strange move for a W3C Working Group to take. Especially since these technologies are already implemented widely.

Sorry if I have misunderstood the guidelines.

Ben ‘Cerbera’ Millard
Project Cerbera

Every lump of hard-wrapped, monospaced, plain text on that list’s archive seems like a wonderful irony. It’s the HTML Working Group but we shalln’t use <a href>!

On the plus side, the mobileOK people have been responding. So maybe their MobileOK Basic Tests 1.0 will get a reality check, somewhat like WCAG 2.0 has undergone over the past year.