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> IDW Mobile Skin, Extremely light-weight and mobile-friendly skin
    Posted: Dec 6 2010, 12:18 AM

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Posts: 8,011
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Joined: Sep 15th 2002
Location: San Leandro, California

After one full month of development and thorough testing, I am happy to announce the official debut of the IDW Mobile Skin. Some of you have probably already been using it on your phone during the testing phase. The feedback is very positive as seen in here. A little background on this mobile skin. The design of the skin is purely based on IP.Board 3.1.0. It was never designed to work with the current forum software we are using, which is IPB 1.3.1 Final.

A lot of tweaking and code rewriting and optimizing were in place. I succeeded in reducing the footprint of the original jQuery framework, that this mobile skin needed, from 150KB to a mere 900 bytes, and reducing the CSS from 20KB to 11.7KB. But I went further and reduced MySQL queries for each pageload due to the fact that the mobile skin does not need some of the data needed by the normal skins. What does that all mean? It means that on average it takes only 2 to 5 seconds for your phone to load a page, significantly faster than loading a normal skin, which usually go up to 10 seconds or longer.

Here are a detailed analysis on the footprint for each view:

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Index View: If your phone's browser support gzip compression (most modern phones do) The index page weigh in at a 6.5KB for transfer size. Upon content being cached, it reduced to a mere 2.0KB for each pageload. Light as a feather!

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Forum View: The forum page weigh in at a 11.3KB for transfer size, and 5.8KB upon content being cached.

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Topic View: You probably spend most of the time in a topic. So this view is the most important one. After painstaking optimization, a full topic view (25 posts) weigh in at a 16.7KB for transfer size and only 5.6KB after content being cached.

So how does one access this mobile skin? There are two ways to do it: you can use your phone to access and the forums will automatically detect your phone as a mobile device and serve the mobile skin to your phone's browser. Or, you can simply select the mobile skin from the skin selector at the bottom of every page. One good thing about having a new feature on beta status before releasing it officially is the instant feedback I've received. They are invaluable for development. Möbius raised a very important question. What if one still wants to use the regular skins on their phone? Thanks to cookies, I was able to resolve this issue. To use regular skin on your mobile device, simply click on the "Full Version" link at the footer, the forums will plant a cookie on your phone and override the mobile detection algorithm, treating your mobile device as a regular browser. Should you ever wanted to switch back to the mobile skin after clicking the Full Version link, simply click on the "Mobile Version" link at the bottom, it will delete the cookie and let the mobile detection algorithm take over again.

Without further ado, here are some screenshots of the mobile skin taken on my iPhone 4. So far, the skin had been tested on most of the popular phone such as iPhone, HTC, Android, Droid X... etc. If your phone is not supported, please PM me with your phone's user agent string. (To obtain your phone's user agent string, please go to on your phone)

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(All forum row are "touchable", meaning the entire cell is clickable. To bring up the navigation, please click on the » button on the top right corner.)

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(If your phone has touch screen, simply tap the body of the PM / post to bring up the Delete / Edit and Reply button.)

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(Search function and member list are added for a more functional skin.)

If you want a new feature implemented on the Mobile Skin, feel free to use this thread - to give your comments and feedback of this skin.Thank you!

This post has been edited by Perry on Dec 19 2010, 08:25 PM
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