Scribblings Resurrection

Portable devices

Tuesday, 20 December 2005

For the past year or more this site has been providing a stylesheet for those portable devices which recognise such things. Until recently the stylesheet has been blank, the idea being that handhelds would display the content but make no attempt to style it whatsoever. For the past couple of months the handheld stylesheet has started to contain proper styles and I’ve now finished the first version.

The Cat's page in Opera in small screen mode

I have no idea whether the styles will work on most handheld devices because I don’t have access to one. I’ve been testing it out using the Opera browser in ‘Small screen’ mode where it works just fine. Some handhelds use a version of Opera as their default browser while, for some, it’s a downloadable application. There may be other browsers available but I really don’t know.

The picture shows how part of The Cat’s page looks on Opera in ‘Small screen’ mode when I use a narrow window and a smallish font.

The only time I’ve managed to check the site on a handheld was a few months ago when I tried it on a colleague’s PDA which had some version or other of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer installed. It made a complete pigs ear of it although it was more or less usable. I’ve since found out that the portable version of Internet Explorer handles handheld stylesheets wrongly (no real suprise there :-)). Instead of using only the handheld stylesheet it uses the normal ‘screen’ stylesheet and then overlays the styles in the handheld sheet on top of that. Bad, bad, bad!

Opera, and hopefully at least some other portable web browsers, handle handheld stylesheets properly — they ignore the ‘screen’ sheet altogether. I’d love to hear from anyone who successfully gets this site to work on their PDA or mobile phone. I’d also like to hear from you if you try it and it doesn’t work. Until I have something I can use to try it myself the whole thing is not much more than an academic exercise for me.

Posted 20 December 2005, 00:33 GMT

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