New iPhone friendly plugin for WordPress

WPTouchMy pal and nacho eating drinking buddy Duane has been working away with Dale Mugford on some cool stuff for WordPress for awhile now and has finally made available a plugin, called WPTouch, that allows you present your site optionally to visitors using iPhones or the iPod Touch.

This plugin formats your WordPress site to better be viewed on Mobile Safari that is installed on those devices. There are a number of built in features beyond the presentation layer as well. It also gives you the option to view the ‘normal’ version of the site if you edit your theme (I haven’t yet). Up until now, I’ve had a simple plugin running on my site that simple changes the view of this site to remove the left and right gray sides that are unnecessary on a small screen.

I just installed the plugin after checking out a few versions over the past little while that Duane sent my way. So far I’m pretty impressed. I need to tweak a few things in my CSS files and possibly in the plugin as I’m not crazy about how some of my posts appear but it should be a trivial amount of effort to get it the way I like it.

Compare the different presentations:

Modified Viewport WPTouch ‘homepage’ WPTouch ‘post’

I’m still undecided if I want these customized versions of sites when I surf on my iPhone. It’s more work to maintain the site in keeping plugins like this up to date as well as it kind of goes against the whole single version of the web thing. Another downside is that if I see something on a ‘desktop’ browsed version of a site and then because of formatting changes to the layout of the site on a handheld device, it can be pain to find what I was looking for if I have to fight the automatic formatting imposed on me. At least Duane’s plugin gives you the choice (assuming the site owner has made the changes necessary to their theme template). I *DO* enjoy some things to be custom formatted on my iPhone (like a number of Google’s apps) but it sets a precedent that I thought we were trying to get away from (browser specific versioning).

If you have one of the devices, let me know what you think of this site running on Duane’s plugin. While you’re at it, why not check out Duane’s other WordPress goodies on his newly launched site (with Dale Mugford), BraveNewCode.com.

3 Comments

  1. Duane Storey says:

    Some good comments. While I’m a big supporter obviously of WPtouch, I definitely see your point, and in a perfect world I think everyone would modify their own CSS and keep their own look and feel. Unfortunately, very few people have the skills to do that.

    And while the iPhone is a great web experience compared to other mobile devices, it is far from perfect — at the end of the day you’re still viewing websites designed for 800×600 or 1024×768 on a device that’s a little larger than 300 pixels wide. That leads to compromises and affects readability — I for one do not really enjoying panning around the page and using the pinch scrolling just to read a single article. But everyone’s milage will vary, and your points are valid for sure.

  2. John says:

    Agreed about the pinching/zooming thing. Depending on the site I prefer the click navigation vs having to make a giant site fit onto the iPhone’s small screen. Also I think plugins like yours are easier on the bandwidth since you’re not trying to load the entire site with all it’s ajaxy goodness over a substandard wireless data plan.

    I also agree that surfing on the iPhone isn’t perfect – far from it… but it is a huge leap from where we came from. I remember thinking how awesome Blazer was on my Treo compared to the WAP browser I had used before it. Seems like the stone age now.

    As you say, everyone’s milage will vary and everyone has their own preference….I’m glad there are at least options now.

  3. M4rco says:

    Thanks for sharing this Plugin. Your Blog already Bookmarked :)

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