And Lonely Planet Responds


Just arrived in my email this morning:


We noticed your mention of our mobile services on your site:

Yes, we do have an XHTML site that was created in partnership with Nokia to highlight the 3650 launch in Europe and Asia. Thank you for your complements on it. Just wanted to clarify a few points that you mentioned.

First, the site is not meant to be viewable by a desktop web browser and we have implemented a procedure to limit access from a valid Nokia mobile browsers only. Trying to access the site from a desktop browser should present an error page:

Second, in reference to "not well formed and not a valid XHTML-MP", our main objective developing this site was to provide a visually rich user experience. In order to achieve this effect it was necessary to embed extra tags into the code. Then the XHTML code was tested against the target device for its rendering capabilities, as well as consistently validated and checked using the Nokia Internet Toolkit 3.1. While the extra tags invalidated the code from the xHTML-MP perspective, the 3650 smart browser allowed such formatting and rendered it properly, achieving the desired visual effect. It should also be noted that the XHTML DTD does not accurately mimic the full capabilities of the Symbian Browser. A valid DTD for the Symbian Browser that indicates all of the allowable tags and fields that can be used does not exist to our knowledge. v Third, the "old WAP site" is actually a new one. was just recently launched and complies with the WML 1.2.1 standards. It has profiling capabilities built into to customize the users experience across different WML phones. For example, if you access the site via some of the new color phones (eg: 3650, S55, T68i, 7210 etc) color menus and images will be provided. Each of these phones, have specific profiles associated with them to best deliver the experience for that phone. While the site is currently viewable via any wml complaint phone, soon it will be limited to Orange UK users only.

Attached is a screen shot of the Orange UK WAP site. You can also access it through their web emulator interface at under the "Travel and Holidays" under "Travel and Journey".


Jerry Granucci
Manager of Product Development
Digital Publishing Unit
Lonely Planet Publications

Very interesting. Thanks for the email Jerry!

Here's some comments: First, I really do think both sites are nice and well done. (The term "Old WAP" is my personal bias against the technology, not this site in particular.) However, from a technical perspective, the whole idea of the XHTML standard was to get away from the idea of hacking at the markup code in order to make a page look one way or another on different browsers. Otherwise we're going back to the bad old days of BLINK and MARQUEE tags. The fact that the markup in the LP pages actually works on the phone is pure luck as the fact that it isn't well formed (regardless of Nokia's tools) is just sloppy workmanship. XML should be well formed at the very, very minimum. As to the extra attributes in the tables, etc., I'm playing with XHTML-MP right now and most of the same effect should be achievable only through stylesheets.

That said, even if the exact same visual appearance of the LP pages ISN'T achievable via standard markup and CSS (and you know better than I whether that's the case), I would work within those bounds to get the most out of the browser, instead of relying on HTML hacks. I'm not a standards evangelist by any means, this is just a wise design and business decision. Standard and maintainable markup will allow faster development, better compatibility when other XHTML phones start arriving (soon and in the millions) and allow you to quickly move to newer tools (both client and server side) which are also arriving. It's just the right thing to do.

It's also just my opinion. :-)

Also, fellow Mobitopian Martin Little sent over a bunch of screenshots of the WAP site using his P800. You can check them out here: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17. Thanks Martin!


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