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SITE: Automatic browser recognition for Apple Macintosh's is fixed plus other minor fixes
Posted by Arne Hess - on Thursday, 16.03.06 - 17:50:09 CET under 06 - Site News - Viewed 13334x
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I still had problems to serve Apple Mac users the right site version and due to a bad configuration, Mac users were always redirected to the mobile version of the::unwired instead of getting the full featured desktop version.
However, this problem should be solved now, at least I hope so.
If you are not aware how the::unwired serves the pages, here we go with a small explanation:

One of my highest targets, since I've created the first Windows CE/Windows Mobile related web pages, was to serve both - desktop and mobile users the right page, doesn't matter how they access the::unwired (and all its forerunners). In the past, I either worked with sub-domains like mobile.xyz.net or directories like xyz.net/mobile/ to serve you the mobile version of the page you've requested. However, since the relaunch of the::unwired, I've changed the system to a style sheet based delivery mechanism so you don't have to take care about URLs, domains, etc anymore. Everything should works automatic which is even more important if other sites links to the::unwired.

For instance a site links to this article now, they can simply use:

http://www.theunwired.net/?itemid=2956

instead of (for instance):

http://mobile.theunwired.net/?itemid=2956
or
http://www.theunwired.net/mobile/?itemid=2956

The charm of the style sheet method - for you - is you will get the right version (desktop or mobile), doesn't matter if you first follow the link from your office computer and later you follow the same link from your mobile device while in the train.

Neither you, nor the one who links to the::unwired have to take care. Same - and today this is even more important - happens if you use the::unwired's RSS Feed. If you read the feed on your desktop PC and you follow the link to read the whole article, you get the desktop version served. If you read the RSS Feed on your mobile device and you follow the link to the complete article, you get the mobile version served. But the feed URL stays always the same. Therefore you don't have to deal with different feed URLs, depending on the device you are using; sweet - eh?

Okay, so far so good but now back to the problem. The automatic browser recognition is done in the PHP code right before the first HTML bits are served, which is - especially on mobile devices - even more important because this saves you bandwidth and therefore money! This browser recognition is a combination of the system and browser you use, to make sure it's working as effective as possible without having too much code to take care about and to keep up to date.
However, in the past there was a serious problem with Mac computers and unfortunately, most (if not all) visitors with a Mac got the mobile version served, instead of the desktop version. Basically this happened because Apple is using "PPC" in the User Agent String to indicate that the computer is a "Power PC". On the other hand, "PPC" is also used to indicate, the used device is a Pocket PC. You see? Two times PPC but two completely different systems. Therefore my browser recognition screwed up, prioritized the "Pocket PC" (since the::unwired is about Pocket PC also but not about Power PCs) over the Mac provided the mobile version for Power PC users as well. However, finally it is fixed now (I hope) and both Apple platforms:

Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; U; PPC Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/XX
Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; U; Intel Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/XX

should get the the desktop version. In addition I've added some more new mobile devices to the recognition system to make sure the latest and newest mobile devices also get the right pages served now.

However, I would like to ask you for a favor: if you have a Mac (PPC or the new Intel), can you please check out if you get the desktop version of the::unwired if you use http://www.theunwired.net and post your results in the comments bellow? I don't have Macs around me, so I was able to test it on one Mac only.
If you have one of the newer Pocket PCs or Smartphones (like the Palm Treo 700w) or if you use a different browser on your current Pocket PC or Smartphone or if you use a regular mobile phone with xHTML browser, can you please check if you get the mobile version if you access http://www.theunwired.net?

If you don't get the page your expected (mobile version on desktop PCs / desktop version on mobile devices), can you please check your User Agent Header here (should work on any desktop computer/browser as well as with most xHTML compliant mobile device browsers) and post the results in the comments also to make sure I can update the browser list again to make it as compatible as possible?

Thanks a lot and I hope you enjoy the way the::unwired tries to keep your browsing experience the best as long as you stay here.

Cheers ~ Arne


 
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Comments
Posted by Janak Parekh on 16.03.06 - 20:31:02

Arne,

The desktop version indeed loads fine in both Firefox and Safari on my Powerbook G4.

--janak

Posted by JuhaN on 18.03.06 - 10:49:34

Works fine on my iMac running Tiger and Safari... No more mobile site!!

=)juha

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