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Reviewing mobile markup languages

From: Mobile Web Design & Development Fundamentals

Video: Reviewing mobile markup languages

In this movie, I'm going to show you a brief history of mobile markup languages as they've evolved over time. Because even though today we are using HTML5 to do most of our mobile markup, there is a chance that during your mobile development you may come across markup that was written in an older language. And I find that it's helpful to have an understanding of how languages have evolved over time, so that you have a better idea of what to expect in the wild when you are developing your pages.

Reviewing mobile markup languages

In this movie, I'm going to show you a brief history of mobile markup languages as they've evolved over time. Because even though today we are using HTML5 to do most of our mobile markup, there is a chance that during your mobile development you may come across markup that was written in an older language. And I find that it's helpful to have an understanding of how languages have evolved over time, so that you have a better idea of what to expect in the wild when you are developing your pages.

So let's begin way back at the beginning. Back in the 1970s was when we first encountered SGML. SGML was the Structured Generalized Markup Language invented by IBM, which gave rise in the early 1990s to things like HTML, XML, and a language known as Handheld Device Markup Language--that's HDML at the bottom. Now you can be forgiven if you've never heard of HDML before.

It's actually a proprietary language that was invented by a company called Unwired Planet, which eventually became Openwave, and that was a language that they came up with sometime around the early 90s, maybe 92, 93, or so, to mark up web pages for very early web-capable mobile phones. The next iteration in the mid-90s was XHTML, and that was when HTML and XML basically came together, where the HTML tag library was formatted using XML syntax rules.

And that was sometime around the mid 90s, 96, 97, or so. Then we get to the late 90s where we see the rise of languages such as C-HTML, which is Compact HTML. And again, you may be forgiven if you've never heard of that. It's probably more familiar to you as i-mode, and even though it's not really used anymore you'll still see it in some web pages, especially in the Japan market. There is a preponderance of C-HTML on the i-mode phones, which were produced by NTT DOCOMO.

There is also XHTML Basic, which was a factoring of the XHTML language into smaller bits that earlier web phones could more easily handle. And then HDML, eventually the lessons learned there were folded into what became known as WML, or the Wireless Markup Language, which was promoted heavily by Nokia back in the late 90s. And then we get to today. Today we have a language that has been used mostly in the early 2000s up until around maybe the end of the decade called XHTML Mobile Profile, and it's labeled there as XHTML-MP.

That was standardized in 2001 using the lessons learned from things like WML and XHTML Basic and Compact HTML, and it was updated again back in 2008. HTML, of course, went on to become HTML5, portions of which have entered into the Last Call status back here in June of 2011. So let's go ahead and take a closer look at XHTML Mobile Profile and HTML5.

Now prior to the introduction of most of the modern smartphones--and by that I mean things like the iPhone and Android and Opera Mobile and Windows Phone-- XHTML Mobile Profile was the most common markup language for mobile devices. So you would see this on certain Nokia devices and other web-capable phones before the iPhone, so prior to let's call it 2007. The DOCTYPE for XHTML Mobile Profile looks like this. So if you come across this, you'll know that it's a XHTML Mobile Profile web site, and in fact, most modern smartphones--including the phones I just mentioned earlier--will recognize this DOCTYPE and realize that the page is mobile optimized and go into their mobile layout mode.

XHTML Mobile Profile was divided into modules, and this provided a way for mobile developers to move off of WML and it allowed less capable devices to support the most common features. So the modules were things like linking and providing text and filling out forms and so on and so forth. There were certain things in full HTML and full XHTML that did not make into the modules, things like plug-ins, and so on.

So that's how XHTML Mobile Profile came about. However, XHTML Mobile Profile is not the way forward. The way forward in the future is going to be HTML5, especially since the newer phones and devices such as tablets are now able to support HTML5. So for the rest of this course, I'm going to be focusing on HTML5 and not XHTML Mobile Profile.

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This video is part of

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Mobile Web Design & Development Fundamentals

46 video lessons · 24414 viewers

Joe Marini
Author

 
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  1. 2m 48s
    1. Welcome
      1m 2s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 46s
  2. 29m 25s
    1. Understanding the mobile context
      8m 5s
    2. A survey of mobile sites
      11m 44s
    3. Targeting mobile browsers
      4m 31s
    4. Previewing a complete mobile site
      5m 5s
  3. 27m 20s
    1. Designing for one web
      3m 43s
    2. Using well-defined web standards
      3m 45s
    3. Designing mobile-friendly pages
      3m 40s
    4. Being crisp, clean, and succinct
      5m 45s
    5. Minimizing input where possible
      6m 47s
    6. Focusing on the core scenarios
      3m 40s
  4. 1h 13m
    1. Installing the tools
      3m 52s
    2. Setting up a local web server
      9m 13s
    3. Installing device emulators
      17m 5s
    4. Using device emulators
      13m 9s
    5. Downloading Modernizr and Mobile Boilerplate
      6m 22s
    6. Building a first mobile web page
      5m 43s
    7. Developing mobile pages with desktop browsers
      8m 6s
    8. Exploring useful mobile web development resources
      10m 23s
  5. 53m 26s
    1. Reviewing mobile markup languages
      5m 10s
    2. Understanding content adaptation approaches
      10m 32s
    3. Controlling the viewport layout
      12m 50s
    4. Designing forms
      13m 30s
    5. Using CSS media queries
      11m 24s
  6. 1h 11m
    1. Detecting client capabilities with script
      10m 8s
    2. Caching information with local storage
      9m 16s
    3. Determining position with geolocation
      12m 52s
    4. Minimizing HTTP requests with data URLs
      7m 39s
    5. Understanding user agent detection
      9m 8s
    6. Using server-side detection with PHP
      6m 52s
    7. Using server-side detection with ASP.NET
      4m 54s
    8. Using HTML5 Boilerplate for mobile
      11m 6s
  7. 39m 22s
    1. Measuring performance
      7m 41s
    2. Creating full-screen web apps
      6m 30s
    3. Customizing the user interface
      5m 14s
    4. Detecting orientation changes
      3m 58s
    5. Detecting device movement
      5m 21s
    6. Using touch events
      10m 38s
  8. 47m 14s
    1. Taking a look at the finished site
      7m 40s
    2. Examining the header and background image style on the Home page
      10m 10s
    3. Examining the hover effect and layout styles on the Tours page
      6m 42s
    4. Examining mobile forms on the Contact page
      9m 45s
    5. Viewing and testing the mobile site on emulators
      8m 11s
    6. Viewing the site on devices
      4m 46s
  9. 2m 34s
    1. Goodbye
      2m 34s

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