OSNews Mobile: the project of a lifetime

Everyone knows how much I boast about the mobile version of OSNews, but few know that I consider it the project of my lifetime (well, so far). You see, OSNews Mobile is the most unique independent site (e.g. not-made-by-a-carrier) on the web today. Sure, there are many mobile sites out there, but most of them have no design whatsoever. They are a bunch of links and text on a white background (news.bbc.co.uk, Gmail anyone?). Another improtant point is that all the mobile sites out there don’t have an automatic detection, the user has to know a special URL. As for the sites that use WURFL for their detection (very few of them use it [un]fortunately), they leave out the text-mode browsers and mid-90s browsers. OSNews Mobile supports all of them and when the new CSS-based OSNews goes live, many more old browsers will be forced to use the mobile version (e.g. NetPositive, Dillo etc). JBQ (who works for Openwave’s mobile browser division) keeps telling me that he likes the mobile version of OSNews not because it’s the most “fabulous” site out there (it’s not), but because “it proves what is possible if web developers took the time to design properly for mobile“.

Today, the well-known site MobileBurn.com posted a review of the new Sony Ericsson W810i walkman phone. The editor, Michael Oryl, was very kind to send me over 2 screenshots of OSNews rendering on the phone’s brand new version of Netfront, v3.3. The phone has a resolution of only 176×220, but OSNews renders beautifully as you can see. Thanks Michael!

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Ludovic Hirlimann wrote on April 20th, 2006 at 6:45 AM PST:

Eugenia, does the switch to CSS for osnews will mean that the site will validate w3c’s validator ?

This is the admin speaking...
Eugenia wrote on April 20th, 2006 at 7:29 AM PST:

Possibly not, mostly because of some very old news stories that have capitalized HTML in them, or other small stuff like that. Does it matter though? Why everyone gives such an importance to a validator? Only geeks care about it so much.

Both myself and Adam have explained the current situation and why OSNews does not validate: in order to go around browsers’ bugs. It is more important to us –as a business– to be able to render to as many browsers as we can than to render correctly on only half of them but instead be proud carriers of a stupid sticker that says “validated”. Think a bit. Our site renders *correctly* on *all* browsers when unvalidated, EXACTLY because of some workarounds we use (that don’t validate). We don’t need any “validation” by anyone as long as our site does what it is supposed to do on any given browser. We pretty much get ZERO complaints like “your site doesn’t work”, because it always works!

But yes, Adam will code the version 4 of OSNews as close to the spec as possible. I know that this is one of his goals. For me personally, it does not matter. All I care is for the damn thing to work no matter what browser you throw at it.

I am a *practical* person. And when you do validate it is not always practical (for example, when closing a /p tag it creates extra space that sometimes is unwanted — leaving the tag open does not validate, but it surely looks better in some designs). Again, use the best tool (and piece of code) for the job. Please note that I don’t like hacks myself (or really ugly code), I really do like “clean” code. But sometimes, you gotta find workarounds, as HTML and browsers don’t always agree.

This is the admin speaking...
Eugenia wrote on April 20th, 2006 at 7:38 AM PST:

And BTW, it kinda bothers me that you replied in this blog post which is about the mobile version of osnews and all you had to say was to ask about the validation of the desktop version (which has been beaten to death already). It’s like going to someone’s wedding and all you discuss about is the bride’s cousin wedding that it’s going to happen in 3 months time.

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