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The media attribute

Does it have widespread use yet?



8:56 pm on Apr 15, 2008 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Like the topic says. If I want to link in a stylesheet for my PDA/cellphone using the media="handheld" attribute, can I do it and be reasonably sure the page gets served up in either no-CSS mode, or with a custom-designed stylesheet?

I tried Google but to no avail, latest discussions I could find were from 2004.

[edited by: Wertigon at 8:57 pm (utc) on April 15, 2008]

Receptional Andy

9:55 pm on Apr 16, 2008 (gmt 0)

Results in 2007 were mixed, according to the Mobile Web Initiative statistics [w3.org]


10:41 am on Apr 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I see. Thanks. :)


6:31 am on Apr 21, 2008 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Those 2004 posts you found were probably mine. Unfortunately, not much has changed since I finally abandoned my pursuit of mobile webdev in frustration and returned to traditional dev. Each of the 5 browsers I tried developing for with xhtml/css-WinIE, NetFront, Thunderhawk, Opera Mobile and some buggy beta Mozilla concoction ALL have various and inconsistent support for css2. And the 1 with the widest level of support is WinIE. Opera and Netfront came up with their own proprietary mobile fomatting solutions that mangle the strict- mode, media=handheld, build for desktop-but-scales for mobile solution.

In all honesty, I was sure I had a jumpstart on the holy grail of write-once/use-everywhere cross-platform web dev...but it was not to be.

in 2004,all the experts were saying wap and wml were dead. yet, here they are, the most reliable solution that seems to work on every brand of mobile phone and all shapes, sizes, platforms and handheld O/S on the planet, albeit with the same limited functionality as before.

I think the opening of dev for the iPhone may change all of that. We can only hope, right? In the meantime, I secured the .mobi domain name of my portfolio web site. otherwise, I'm still playing the waiting game, just like you. sorry to be the bearer of bad news.



5:11 pm on Apr 29, 2008 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

For a while now I've had two stylesheets on a site (one each for screen and print, with a couple of page-specific stylesheets mixed in). Anyway, although there is a separate WML site for WAP 1.1 phones, I thought it would be a good idea to provide a third stylesheet for high-end (HTML) phones.

I put together a simple handheld stylesheet for the purposes of seeing if it works (it simply sets the background to magenta), I dropped in a <link> after my other sheets, and it works as intended with the Openwave, Yospace (Motorola) and mtld.mobi (Sony-Ericsson) simulators (all on PC).

However, trying both Opera Mini and the Series 60 (Webkit) browser on an N95, neither of them were using the handheld stylesheet, even though I would imagine they are advanced enough to support media dependent styling. Whether this is something to do with Nokia's decision to market phones as "what computers have evolved into" may be the reason, but whether you call it a computer or not, it's still "handheld", and I would expect it to follow this. It's a little bit disappointing and confusing.

Any ideas or comments? Maybe there's a setting/override of some kind that I've missed?


7:03 am on May 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

It's really beyond our control. browsers developed with proprietary formatting technology like opera and netfront have less incentive to fully support css2. and I must admit, as a consumer I love netfront's 'smart wrap' technology, its rich feature set, built in flash player and java support. but as a developer in search of a cross-browser, standards-compliant webdev solution, I'm frustrated by the inconsistent choices. i gave up. went back to desktop dev & design. the iphone looks very promising. when my sprint contract expires soon, I'm buying one so I can develop for it. i can't wait.


8:59 am on May 9, 2008 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Well, as far as the iPhone goes, yeah, it's a lovely phone, but I'd be weary for several reasons:
(1) The price puts it out of the range of most people
(2) Market share is extremely small, mainly due to the way it's tied to (generally) one network operator (ie a maximum of 20% of the market, if you don't include unlocked versions), but also as a consequence of (1).
(3) After the mess in the 1990s, which we are only just recovering from, I will never develop browser-specific ever again. I'll write to standards, and if the browser doesn't support it, then tough, but I won't have branches of code, and 6 different stylesheets to cater for everybody. It confuses me that people are very keen to "optimise" their site for iPhone, when from the very beginning Apple were claiming "the real, full, regular web".

I do love using the phone, and I have great faith in different versions of Safari, but my wishlist for it is simply to support media css, and I'll do the rest. Different types of JavaScript event are probably something to keep an eye on (screen pinching, orientation changes, etc), but I think the best thing Apple and Nokia can do is make their phones react/display the same as all the other phones.


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