[RFC] Include mobile style

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phynixx
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Re: [RFC] Include mobile style

Post by phynixx »

Thoughts to possibly help this come along. All my opinion for perspective. Pick it apart and maybe the final result of this thread will be something that can be architected into code...

To start I have to say a mobile-optimized style would be fantastic to have. I do not think it can be argued that mobile phone/tablet/etc. access of sites is only increasing and does not look to slow-down or stop anytime soon.

That said, here's some thoughts on what (I think) this thing should be/do:
  • - limited header & footer. real estate is key here so cut much of what we normally see and squish the rest into something that's not in the way (see google mail's implementation for reference. When reading a mail your mark as read, etc. options are all compressed into the double arrow icon).
    - present less of the forums. Instead of showing the title, description, posts, last post, etc. slim it down
    - cut down post displays to the necessary content. remove things like the poster avatars, and other less critical items
    - possibly remove the ability to access the ACP at all
    - probably the same for UCP & MCP
    - since every market is different there should be a number of configuration options. i.e
    - not sure whether or not it should be a style however that focuses more on the 'how' not the what so I won't get into that here
    - Simple to enable/disable via the ACP
    - from the mobile version provide a link to the "normal" version for those that want the whole thing for whatever reason
    • - replace images with low-res versions, thumbnails, or maybe just a link to them
      - perhaps you have a big tablet user base so allow showing of topic & post count in forum lists b/c they have the real estate to show it
      - same thing with posts. configure some subset of information to be shown or not based on userbase
That's probably enough to go off of for now. Thoughts?

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Arty
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Re: [RFC] Include mobile style

Post by Arty »

Including whole mobile style would add another style to take care of.

With some modifications prosilver could be used as mobile style, so why not use it instead? It could be done like this: if mobile device is detected, add S_MOBILE switch and use it in prosilver templates to hide extra stuff and switch to different css file.

Also create variable for switching between full and mobile styles, like U_MOBILE, pointing to ether index.php?mobile=true or index.php?mobile=false (and same for other pages). If url has mobile=false, phpBB sets S_MOBILE to false and assigns U_MOBILE, so template would be shown as for normal browsers, but it would also have link to mobile style in footer. Parameter "mobile" can be treated same way as "style" is currently being treated to be automatically added to all urls and forms.

Most mod authors are currently not supporting subsilver2, so they most likely will ignore mobile style too. Using prosilver as mobile style solves that problem.

phynixx
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Re: [RFC] Include mobile style

Post by phynixx »

if mobile device is detected, add S_MOBILE switch
I could get behind something like that. So long as it is standardized and made *very* public it would allow all style authors to provide branch functionality. i.e. "If you care about being mobile-accessible implement code that detects and acts on the switch".

Fairly clean & is 100% opt-in.

That would also allow mod-authors & such to do the same and could even build mods that act on the switch differently than the current detection scheme.

Finally for those that don't think it'd be possible to have this coded in any time soon implementation of the base-functionality could be coded first while allowing the mod community to come up with add'l functionality (as well as evolve exactly what it is that phpbb in general is going to do with 'mobile support' until such time that the official developers can decide upon the next layer of core support & implement it.

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Ger
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Re: [RFC] Include mobile style

Post by Ger »

Arty wrote:Including whole mobile style would add another style to take care of.

With some modifications prosilver could be used as mobile style, so why not use it instead?
I didn't realize that prosilver would be that easy to make mobile-friendly. If that's the case, than hell yeah: make it so. :)
Much easyier to maintain for both devs, style-authors, MOD-authors and end-users.
Above message may contain errors in grammar, spelling or wrongly chosen words. This is because I'm not a native speaker. My apologies in advance.

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callumacrae
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Re: [RFC] Include mobile style

Post by callumacrae »

I would strongly disagree with optimising prosilver for mobile devices. It wouldn't be possible to reduce the size of the style significantly, which would defeat the point, as pretty much every mobile phone is capable of rendering full pages.
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phynixx
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Re: [RFC] Include mobile style

Post by phynixx »

callumacrae wrote:I would strongly disagree with optimising prosilver for mobile devices.It wouldn't be possible to reduce the size of the style significantly, which would defeat the point, as pretty much every mobile phone is capable of rendering full pages.
Are you referring to the size of the code base, or the size as displayed on screen?

If it's the former, I don't think the size of the code so much as the complexity involved in implementing hooks & such to make it mobile friendly will be the problem. This might end up making it unfeasible to implement w/in a style and force mobile friendliness into its own style. Thinking forward though, while phpbb is not style-friendly right now, in the future if it becomes easy to implement styles it would be much easier (and therefore prone to success) to prescribe the development of styles with mobile hooks/mobile "alternatives" then it would be to suggest that all style developers write two versions of code, one for regular display & one for mobile.

If it's the latter, and you are thinking of on-screen display size, you are correct that they are capable of it. However on your average mobile device (iphone, etc.) the amount of information displayed makes using the forum for anything more than quick information lookup unfeasible.

For example try loading Area51 regularly in a mobile device. Then for contrast load http://phpbb-mobile.com/ (once callum fixes the error) & http://farmacjaforum.pl/. The screen is cleaned up, there isn't a swath of tiny printed bits everywhere, and you don't have to zoom in and then pan everywhere to find what you want.

(To be clear: I'm not trying to sell phpbb-mobile as the end goal we should be shooting for... maybe it is maybe it isn't... I'm just trying to show what mobile optimization looks like and why we should be doing it versus saying that mobile devices are capable of full-screen rendering and leaving it at that.)

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callumacrae
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Re: [RFC] Include mobile style

Post by callumacrae »

I think I've posted something similar before, but:
Image
Image

Spot the mobile style :-)

(both tests were done on my broadband connection, there's no way I could load something that fast on my phone, maybe multiply it tenfold xD)
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AmigoJack
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Re: [RFC] Include mobile style

Post by AmigoJack »

One of my moderators has a crappy internet connection and thus also accesses the board by his phone. To increase loading times, he used Opera's option to turn off all pictures. That, however, will also eliminate button links for each post, like "edit", "quote" along with the other moderation button links. Since those button links are displayed thru CSS backgrounds they're simply invisible now. So a mobile version should also at least consider to work without any pictures at all (speak: text links only).

Another issue: should the mobile device be detected automatically? Or should there be a new UCP setting like "when using the current browser, use this style instead:...", so if a cookie is detected, the secondary style is used, otherwise the primary one. The advantage of this approach is that nobody has to care for detecting a mobile device, along with the issues of ambiguous user agents and false positives, while the user does not have to always change his UCP settings when switching his desktop computer with the mobile device.

phynixx
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Re: [RFC] Include mobile style

Post by phynixx »

AmigoJack wrote:should the mobile device be detected automatically?
I believe auto detection is fairly simple & widespread these days. It shouldn't be hard to bake into things really.

In addition thinking about this from a mobile-phone point of view, I wouldn't want to have to configure things beforehand to try and access my forum via specific devices. Sometimes you're not always using the same phone/mobile device.

IMO it should be automatic.

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naim
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Re: [RFC] Include mobile style

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