[Imc-london] iMobile meeting: developing a mobile indymedia.
the.rampart at gmail.com
Tue Feb 20 04:39:28 PST 2007
This is an invite to anyone who might be interested in helping to
shape and develop initiatives to make indymedia mobile. (see http://
mobile.indymedia.org.uk for a general rant on what this might mean).
MEETING WED 21ST FEB
7PM @ the hacklab - 15-17 rampart street E1 2LA (off commercial road)
Specifically this meeting will focus on making indymedia more
friendly to users of handheld devices like mobile phones, pdas and
other wireless devices. There are two main areas of concern;
a) alternative publishing models (ie. ways to get content off the
streets and onto the newswire via a mobile device.)
This might consist of reporting via spoken phone calls, text
messaging, email or MMS of photos/video, client side phoneblogging
b) mobile accessible to indymedia content (ie. ways to ensure
indymedia content can be accessed from the street)
This might be web pages constructed with the limitations of
handheld devices in mind or more exotic ideas like localised fm
transmission of internet audio streams, SMS/MMS subscription
services, or even bluetooth snarfing.
There has been actively development taking place on both of these
issues in the last week and things are moving quite quickly, hence
the short notice for the meeting. It would be great to get more
peoples input and help.
Everyone, even (or especially) non-techies, will have valuable
insight into how this might best work!
However, in terms of specific tech skills, people who can modify PERL
and PHP scripts would be particularly valuable. Also useful, people
with knowledge of MIME types or CSS and FREEMARKER templates as used
by the indymedia MIR CMS.
Progress so far -
A perl script written by Kenneth in Barcelona is available to provide
an email to newswire gateway. Ivor who is on the freedomlab list has
offered to host it and can hopefully make the coding changes required
to add some additional features. It's uploaded to his repository and
I've done what I can to add documentation so we can understand what
it currently does. I've also asked about getting a @indymedia.org.uk
address to point at the gateway and Chrisc in sheffield is going to
sort out the mail server.
I've also been exploring different approaches to making indymedia web
pages available to mobiles and ended up focusing on two. One is a
server side proxy which strips out unwanted stuff when people request
a page from a mobile device. That's an on-the-fly approach so adds to
cpu load on the server and also adds some lag to delivery of pages.
The other way is to create a whole new version of the site produced
from cut down templates designed specifically for mobile users. I've
been developing both of these concepts in parallel as I am not yet
sure which is best or most practical and one of them is bound to hits
barriers at some point.
So far, I've located two php scripts which can do the transcoding
function of the server side proxy and I've ask if they can be
installed on an indy server. That's hit a slight barrier as somebody
has to check that the scripts at secure. I've found a coder called
joe on irc.indy who offered to do that. It would still require a php
coder to modify the scripts to our specific needs (ie. strip out
section of pages based on regular expressions or style sheets).
Meanwhile, I've spoken to zapata, the main developer of the MIR CMS
used by indy UK, about the other approach and he seems to be happy to
write the producers that would take templates provided by us and
generate mobile specific pages for every article. He is very busy and
it might be difficult to pin him down. Nether-the-less, I have
started to look at the existing templates and think about the
required changes. The templates are in something known as free marker
which is quite simple (at least I think I have got my head around it).
Either of the two approaches in generating mobile specific pages will
require the same considerations in terms of final design/layout
delivered to the mobile device. A meeting now would help to ensure
plenty of different people views are taken into account and as things
are moving quite quickly it would be useful to do this sooner rather
Bring your mobile phones, smartphones, PDAs, tablets etc.
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