On 11th July 2012 I held a web seminar with DotNetNuke titled "Take Your Site Mobile with 51Degrees.mobi and DNN".
We received far more questions than I was able to answer in the time! This blog post contains a consolidated list of questions and answers. Please use the comments if you have any follow up questions. Thank you.
Question - Aaron – “What are your thoughts on mobile first design? That is, creating your content (and, in turn, devloping the skins) for mobile devices first and then building up for desktop. Does 51Degrees mobi product still fit in with mobile first design?”
Answer - Mobile first is a right approach when building a brand new web site where no content exists already. However in my experience there’s a lot of material that already exists which is built for the “big screen”. Sometimes “micro sites” are created for mobile which contain some of the content from the big screen site. We do this at 51Degrees.mobi placing more focus on shorter text and using videos more often when the mobile device supports video.
Question - Alex – “Is there a way to use 51Degrees in DNN without redirects? Say we have a big site with lots of content and we want it all availabe for mobile. Creating duplicate mobile pages with redirects would be an overkill.
Answer - Yes, and I agree. If your site has the same page content and navigation then you could use responsive design maybe using some server side information to improve the experience. If this isn’t the case then you’d need to find a method of sharing the content across multiple pages. For example; thefonecast.com web site is mainly news articles managed in DNNEasyNews. Therefore it’s only a small number of DNN pages to manage. We use the 51Degrees.mobi redirection feature to simplify redirect management and importantly retain the context of the request. Users will be irritated if they access a news article about “Samsung and Apple” but appear at a generic mobile home page! If your site has many unique pages then the problem is going to be more complex, but the key will be sharing content across multiple pages.
Question - Antony – “Can you add your own custom device in lite? paid?”
Answer - Yes. See this section of the user guide. However very few developers go down this route as it’s time consuming and requires regular maintenance.
Question - Chris – “Would you please provide some more detail regarding the pricing?”
Answer - Yes. It’s all available on this page.
Question - David - “Is there a "Getting Started" page?”
Answer - This blog post by Shaun Walker provides an introduction. The web seminar provides some top tips based on a real DNN migration to mobile with thefonecast.com. Would anyone like to write the official how to guide consolidating all the material?
Question - Dean – “Can you repeat that, if you have 1 server with 300 sites you only need 1 premium data package?”
Answer - The data is licenced on the number of copies of the data file deployed and not the number of web sites. Therefore if you have one instance of DotNetNuke hosting 300 web sites/portals you’d only be using 1 copy/instance of the data file.
Question - Don – “Not all modules displayed on the desktop version were being shown on the mobile page. How is that determined?”
Answer - The mobile pages were separate pages. I therefore chose to only display some of the modules from the “main” site on those pages, sharing the mobile content.
Question - Donald – “This might be very specific, but I was just checking out the Site Redirection Management page in my DNN 6.2, and I get the following error message: "A critical error has occurred. Could not load file or assembly 'FiftyOne.Foundation, Version=22.214.171.124, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=null' or one of its dependencies. The located assembly's manifest definition does not match the assembly reference. (Exception from HRESULT: 0x80131040) " Any suggestion for fixes to this?”
Answer - I’ve not heard of this problem. I was using DNN 6.2 for the web seminar. Do you still have this problem?
Question - Jeffrey & Darren – “What is the firefox mobile module for testing sites?”
Answer - The Firefox user-agent switcher addon is available here.
Question - John – “Pleased to see that http://51degrees.mobi is built on DotNetNuke!”
Thank you. It’s a good combination.
Question - Josh – “On the dotnetnuke side...is the mobile site a child portal, and what is the preferred way or ways to copy or shadow the content from your main site to your mobile site?”
Answer - The “mobile site” isn’t really a separate site. It’s a set of pages under a top level page “Mobile”. These pages use the mobile skin, and not the standard skin. This enables content to be shared between the main pages, and the mobile pages easily using existing DNN functionality.
Question - Josh – “And related to that, how would you recommend meeting a requirement that when content is changed in one location, it would automatically be changed in the other as well”
Answer - Content sharing is a critical enabling technology for mobile. DNN allows content to be shared across multiple instances of a module which is very important. Perhaps future versions of DNN will separate content from presentation and enable content to be shared across multiple web sites, portals, or even exposed via web services.
Question - Justin - “I do have a few questions in regards to the DNN implementation.
- Is the 51degrees module in DNN an alternative to a responsive design, or does that work in tandem?
- If we had a separate mobile site, would we use 51 degrees for anything or would that be a completely different setup?
Answer - Regarding each of your points.
- It works in tandem. In the Response Design section of the slides I’m say that you should use response design (meaning CSS3 / Media Queries) when your page content and navigation is identical. For example; when you just need to lay elements on the page out in a different way, but the elements are the same. You need something more than responsive design (meaning CSS3 / Media Queries) when you’ve either different navigation and/or page layout between your different sites designs. We use CSS3 on thefonecast.com to handle tablets, but it would break on sub 5” devices like SmartPhones. Is this clearer?
- If you have a separate mobile site then you’d use 51Degrees.mobi to drive the redirection to the mobile site from the DotNetNuke site.
Question - Justin – “We've got a site with over 15 thousand pages, we're leaning towards NOT using a responsive design because of performance, browser support, table and image restrictions. The downside is we'd have to duplicate any data we want to use in our mobile site. What would your recommendation be on responsive vs. separate site?”
Answer - Separate site, with shared content between the two. This may be a two stage project where you need to move your existing content into a content store so that it can be shared across multiple sites. With thefonecast.com we had to migrate the content from its original form into EasyDNNNews which then enabled us to share the content across multiple pages.
Question - Kiran - “Can you please give us a reference of some websites that are more of a functional websites with transactions like bill pay that are built with DNN and 51Degrees.mobi.”
Answer - 51Degrees.mobi has been available with DotNetNuke for a few months now and I believe sites are now evaluating the changes and approach to take. I’m therefore not aware of any such sites at the moment. I will ask the DotNetNuke people and see if they know of any.
Question - Prashant – “how do we create a "true" mobile experience where the modules put out mobile optimied output”
Answer - DNN modules will need to support different output depending on the requesting device. This could be done by the module developer today. I also think it would be nice to see DNN core functionality enhanced to enable the “container” for a module to be altered based on the requesting device. I’d also like to see future versions of DNN allow the page skin to be altered based on the requesting device.
Question - Simon – “A lot of skin developers are using Artisteer. Do you have any plans to incorporate the functionality into this product?”
Answer - Not at the moment. Sounds like an opportunity though! Thank you.
Question - Simon – “Can you handle the differences between iOS5 and Android?”
Answer - Yes
Question - Trevor – “Is there a way to include jquery.mobile without it conflicting with the standard DNN jquery?”
Answer - Not that I’m aware of. Generally for mobile keeping the page weight to a minimum is key. Therefore be careful about including extensions like jquery, etc as they can have a big negative impact the first time the page is loaded.
Thank you for so many great questions. Use the comments on this blog if you have any more questions. James.