An iPhone happy website

Developing websites for mobile devices has come a long way since I first started research on the subject; the only vaguely useful device for browsing was the Palm, and it had a really, really awful stripped-down version of Internet Explorer running on it.

It wasn’t easy to target Internet Explorer for Mobile, either. It wouldn’t acknowledge that it was a “handheld” device, rather choosing to render all stylesheets irrespective of media type. This meant using PHP to sniff for User Agent strings and find one that would affect not only Internet Explorer for Mobile, but Internet Explorer 4 also. Good enough.

After that, it came down to the matter that Internet Explorer does not render anything the way you want it to. It’s such an awful bit of software. So we had to strip sites down completely and rebuild them so they were pretty much black copy on a white background, a small logo at the top and some boringly styled links that would begrudgingly pass itself off as “navigation.”

As I said, it certainly has come a long way. While still feeling somewhat like a hack to target these small screen devices (the claim is that they “render so much better than just a handheld device,” thus they still render “screen” stylesheets,) at least when you do they are pretty much able to render the full complement of code you throw at it. I barely had to do anything: increase the font size, make the menu items easier to poke with your finger, and maybe throw the less useful copy to the bottom of the page. Et voilà, a site that makes iPhones happy:

My iPhone happy website

… and that’s all there is to it.

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