Recently, theMechanism has become more interested than ever in mobile web development. Dave and I were talking a bit about the possibilities after work the other day, and we got so excited we snapped up our first .mobi domain. Now that we had it, though, what to do with it?
While I’ve made a site “mobile friendly in two minutes,” heard of the .mobi domain, read a little about Flash Lite, and worked with semacode, I haven’t engaged in any serious, professional mobile development. So, as senior developer for theMechanism, it was incumbent upon me to do some research. Dave asked me to share my findings on the blog. So, over the next few weeks, I’ll be writing about mobile development here while working on themechanism.mobi (note—themechanism.mobi must be accessed by a mobile device or else you’ll simply be routed to themechanism.com).
Why mobile development?
Well, there are facts such as “internet-enabled mobile phones outnumber PCs four to one” . Then there’s the dream/nightmare of ubiquitous computing—using semacode we can “build applications that combine aspects of the virtual world into the real world” . Finally, it's (relatively) new (and therefore exciting) and, given the release of the iPhone, sexier than ever.
While a mobile site can be located anywhere (a domain, subdomain, or subdirectory) “.mobi is the first—and only—top level domain dedicated to users who access the Internet through their mobile phones. General registration of .mobi names began on 26 September and is now open to everyone.” 
mTLD Top Level Domain, Ltd. was appointed by ICANN as the official global registry for the .mobi top level domain . To achieve their goal of a domain dedicated to mobile users, mTLD (known informally as dotMobi) has established three mandatory rules that registrants must agree to comply with when they register a .mobi name. mTLD tests all .mobi domains for conformance to the three mandatory rules once per quarter per domain, though this frequency may be increased for sites that have not been compliant in the past. Non-conformant domains will be suspended .
Mandatory rules for a .mobi domain:
- You are required to use XHTML Mobile Profile 1.0 markup language for the home page of your site if your web application does not have the means to distinguish between devices, or, if your web application is able to distinguish between devices but does not recognize the current device.
- The site must work with or without the “www” in the domain name
- Frames are not allowed.
That’s it for now. Next time, I’ll talk about some tools to make mobile web development easier.