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Device profile updates - a call to the community RRS feed

  • Question

  • User-2007895738 posted
    Dear all, I think I speak on behalf of the complete mobile.net community when I say that we are in dire need of more timely device profile updates. The number of devices currently not supported since Device Update 3 (DU3) is growing and growing. Even Microsoft's own new devices (PPC 2003) are not recognized at the moment. Of course, it is easy to understand that even a company of Microsoft's size cannot maintain an accurate world-wide device list, with the incredible rate at which new devices come out. This post is therefore not meant as a complaint. It is a call on the .Net community to work together in maintaining a central list, or "repository" rather, of mobile devices. Could we, being located everywhere around the world, maintain such a list of all devices that are out there today? Since such a list is in everyone's interest, looking at the increasing rate of internet-capable mobile devices around us, I call upon to community to help. Ideally such a repository would be in an XML or similar format, so that all .Net servers can access it "on-the-fly". I am not the one to dictate the correct format or technical details -- I am sure others are much better at that ;) Please post your comments or ideas below -- I have good hopes of such a service being possible. Kind regards, Victor Pikula
    Friday, November 28, 2003 10:58 PM

All replies

  • User664499748 posted
    I think it is a very pertinent issue that you have raised Victor. The profiling tool that has been released can be used to build such a repository. Please take a look here Thanks, Kashif
    Friday, December 5, 2003 2:23 AM
  • User-2007895738 posted
    Thanks Kashif, The profiling tool does not always correctly create acceptable profiles and refuses to display on some devices. Hand editing of these profiles is in some cases needed, hence my call to everyone to share their profile data. Is noone interested in setting up such an exchange? I will of course provide the webspace and administration... Thanks, Victor
    Tuesday, December 9, 2003 6:44 AM
  • User-385102369 posted
    Hi Victor- One of the original goal of publishing the 'Device Profiling Tool' (available at http://www.asp.net/mobile/profile) was to be able to share the device profiles on this forum. I agree with you that in some cases the profiles may not work as it is and may require adapter changes, but in most cases it is quite possible that it may just work esp if the device is identical to the device included in the supported device list. I will be interested in hearing your thoughts/opinions of how we can improve this process so that we can provide the support for latest devices in a timley manner. Rakesh
    Friday, January 9, 2004 8:58 PM
  • User705318417 posted
    Hi I agree that while the device profiling tool is useful, there is a lot of time overhead, not to mention difficulty in getting hold of devices. Some form of central repository where people could add profiles that they create, allowing other users to download these would be very useful.
    Thursday, March 11, 2004 6:14 AM
  • User-95607119 posted
    The problem here is much wider I think. I have written one mobile based portal on ASP.NET and I know the problems very well. I'm using ASP.NET mobile devices support as a low level infrastructure. For unknown devices I'm always sending out contents in WML 1.1. I have built my own content support framework for mobile devices, so each device gets the content it is capable to show or download. Content support framework is able to maintain information about devices multimedia capabilities and this kind of information we don't find in ASP.NET devices support. The information found this far covers multimedia support about for 120 devices (mainly the devices used in european market). But finding the information is hard process. Many mobile companies are yet giving very few information about their devices and also many of them doesn't describe how some specific device will behave in different error situations. So - if you want to get this information then one of source by example is catching device request headers. Also it is good if system has some error tracking capabilities to find out problematic devices. My opinion is that we need something wider than the current device support in ASP.NET. And it would be nice if the device support information is located in database instead of XML files. Information about content is usually kept is database. So, we need also device support information on database level to represent correct content. I think that mobile developers will need a totally different system than in the moment.
    Tuesday, March 16, 2004 7:41 AM
  • User1654793615 posted
    This is an extremely important part of my company's current mobile internet development. we are (slowly) building up our own collection of device profiles using the profiling tool mentioned above. We would be more than happy to contribute to a joint repository.
    Wednesday, March 17, 2004 10:47 AM
  • User-95607119 posted
    You should check out these links: http://www.thewirelessfaq.com/all.asp http://wurfl.sourceforge.net/
    Wednesday, March 17, 2004 11:31 AM
  • User705318417 posted
    Hi Thanks for your help. I have the wurfl already, it is very useful for filling in gaps in the machine.config. But it still falls short of what we are trying to do. Would some form of central repository storing profiles for a number of devices, in the format provided by the device profiling tool on this site, not turn out to be infinately useful to mobile developers? As already mentioned we would be more than happy to contribute heavily to such a repository. Gordon
    Tuesday, April 6, 2004 5:21 AM
  • User-95607119 posted
    Well, I take this problem as more wider than only profiling through current web site. Currently is building the support for wider range of devices and collecting the information about their media support and behaviour a total mental rape. What do you need to make your mobile web site work for every customer: 1) how devices rended the content This is the lowest level of information that ASP.NET needs to output mark-up language to current device. Although ASP.NET has many devices supported, the list is far from ideal. There is missing a huge load of devices produced mainly in european market. Also this list is update too slow when looking how fast the number of new devices is growing. 2) what content is supported and ***ON WHAT CONDITIONS*** We need a good information support for what and how content is supported by each device. What formats we should show and what should be the file sizes, dimensions for images (by example the wallpapers), voices count for ringing tones etc. 3) how device behaves on error situations This information is needed to check the content and to support users. User can tell only what he/she saw on the device screen. Not all devices give error message for too wide image, by example. Some devices just show the blank screen and that's it. What I want to say, is that currently we have a total mess on mobile devices supporting. And I don't think that the solution is to create one profiling tool that creates support only on one level. We need something more general we can use as community. And I thing that it's good idea if MS ASP.NET geniuses work out somekind of a powerful support system for mobile devices. Also I think MS has more power over devices producers and they have also good experiences on organizing the work of communities. Currently we face the following problems when building device support systems: 1) Not all devices have UAProfiles. In this case the solution may be investigating the request headers sent out by device. In many cases it is useful but the amount of needed information you get is almost zero. 2) Not all producers tell developers where they can find profiles (usually it's good idea to run WAP gateway server in debugging mode and catch all the headers - one of the headers is usually profile URL. But how many of mobile developers have their own gateway server?). 3) Many producers have horrible attidute to developer problems - you may ask, but you never get the answers. (The coolest crusade is to create media support for Samsung devices by example. Check out how much information they provide you.). 4) Many producers doesn't publish documents about their devices media support. How do I know what kind of a content the current device expects and under what conditions? I don't have ideas how can single developers force large mobile companies to publish the technical materials about their products. As I see it, it is the game of the large companies. This time I think it is good idea if MS handles this problem and works about solution for developers and also forces mobile companies to give out information that developers needs. P.S. Soon I will publich a list of UAProfiles URL-s I have gathered. There is almost 500 URL-s (some devices have many uaprofiles - one for each software version). As soon as my new domain is registered I put a link here.
    Tuesday, April 6, 2004 6:04 AM
  • User2019703432 posted
    I was just wondering if anyone knew when we can expect the next version of the Device Update to be ready? I think Microsoft should try to publish an update at least every third month. DU4 is getting old and it's about time for a DU5. And, if they dont plan to do any more device updates, they should say so. And will there be a huge change in mobile development in ASP.NET 2.0 and the way different devices is supported? If i've understod it correctly we'll use the same controls for mobile and regular web applications? And, the mobilde dynamic image will be buildt into the framework, which is sweet. (I've used the free one in the control library and made some changes to it. Added a Maximum size and JPEG support. Let me know if anyone is interested). And, as many allready have pointed out, the problem is not profiling/using the profiling tool but getting your hands on devices. I've porfiled one device that is not currently supported by the device updates. At http://jonas.greit.no/649.xml you can get the profile for a Panasonic GD67 device. Would allso like to say that i totaly agree on the need for a better system for managing device spesifications. What's the bacground size, which media files are supported and so on. And, a quick question on the end: any one managed to use external stylesheets and set the path programaticly in codebehind?
    Tuesday, April 6, 2004 2:51 PM
  • User705318417 posted
    We have managed to get a few devices profiled, although due to problems getting hold of devices and resources going on to other projects the list is at the moment quite limited - although now includes the above panasonic - cheers ;) We are hoping to continue to build this resource and welcome any new devices/corrections to existing devices that anyone wishes to provide. This list is available at www.saw-you.com/syweb2/devices
    Wednesday, April 7, 2004 5:26 AM
  • User-95607119 posted
    Here is the list of profiles I promised to publish in my last post. http://www.developers-team.com/?uaprofs Hope this list is useful for you.
    Monday, April 12, 2004 4:52 PM
  • User2019703432 posted
    Device Profiles for all nokia devices can be found on http://nds1.nds.nokia.com/uaprof/uaprof_list.txt just change the uaprof_list.txt to the name of the file listed in the .txt file. For example: http://nds1.nds.nokia.com/uaprof/N3650r200.xml The format is based on the open mobile alliance device formating spesifications. Hope that Microsoft is basing their device profiles on this format in Whidbey. That way we would get the device profiles updated automaticly. The plan is that each device is going to ship a url to a device .xml file along with it's user agent string. that way the runtime could read the values from a central resposatory automaticly.
    Thursday, April 15, 2004 2:02 PM
  • User-95607119 posted
    LGE profiles: http://gsm.lge.com/
    Friday, April 16, 2004 2:10 AM
  • User2019703432 posted
    Some one should write an XSLT stylesheet transforming the device profile based on the Open Mobile Alliance schema into a device profile matching the ASP.NET Mobile Control Device Spesification schema. That way we could let the device manufactures do the profiling and we could simply run a little tool to generate the config files. If i knew more about XSLT i would have written this my selfe.
    Friday, April 16, 2004 4:51 AM
  • User-1143650407 posted
    The plan is that each device is going to ship a url to a device .xml file along with it's user agent string. that way the runtime could read the values from a central resposatory automaticly.


    2 years later, what is the progress with this plan?


    Wednesday, May 24, 2006 7:25 PM
  • User2004755294 posted

    Devices to send out a link to a UAProfile in their headers now, at least.

    You can visit this URL for profiles... we've got a lot more features almost here for the real-time repository stuff, but this site is where we started.

    http://www.uaprofile.com

    Chris Abbott

     

    Thursday, June 1, 2006 12:55 PM
  • User-1143650407 posted
    So I search for a device profile on your site, make an XML file, and add it to my web.config?

    Not yet possible for the CLR to automatically query a database based on header info?
    Friday, June 2, 2006 5:10 AM
  • User2004755294 posted

    We've developed  a web service that would enable .NET programmers to do just that which is launching soon-ish. It returns an XML containing an array of keys and an array of values which are then combined, since the returned device profile contains different things depending on how much data is in the database, how much customer-specific data can be extracted from the headers, that kind of thing.

    The fact that there are now 2799 UAProfiles on our site kind of points to the difficulty of keeping a web.config file up to date. The current approach is brave but unwieldy when you get into the mobile sphere.

    Chris

     

    Monday, June 5, 2006 6:07 AM
  • User-1143650407 posted
    Are you going to post instructions on how to use your web service?

    My understanding is that I need to make an XML document that I can put into machine.config. Does your web service produce such a document, as the CLR requires it, tag names, etc?
    Tuesday, June 6, 2006 1:53 PM
  • User2004755294 posted

    When it's launched I'll point to the WSDL and downloadable client software, and how to get a test account... however, the whole thing kind of bypasses the CLR: you wouldn't need to use the browser config stuff to use the service: this is partly because the web service is a fair bit more intelligent than the CLR and gives you more properties. Plus it analyses agent strings it hasn't seen before intelligently and is zero maintenance. That's as well as the geolocation information, etc.

    The result returned from the web service is an array of keys and an array of values which are then put back into an array. Has to be this way because the schema is variable from device to device. I don't agree with services which return data at all costs even if it's wrong for the sake of a full-looking schema.

    Returning the XML documents as the CLR requires it is non-trivial because UAProfiles don't contain agent strings, and if you were to look at a table of agent strings and UAProfile.com URLs, you'd find that this is because there are multiple possible agent strings to a UAProfile (growing all the time, too, as new firmware is released). That would mean that a UAProfile would return either many different CLRs (if no human was pressed into service to produce a RegExp), or a human would have to get involved in creating the CLRs manually by crosschecking each UAP and creating a RegExp for each one.

    Unless someone has a nice little routine that takes multiple strings and works out a regexp to describe all of them? Then the problem would be reduced to relatively trivial.

    Chris

    Friday, June 9, 2006 5:08 AM
  • User-1143650407 posted
    Sounds interesting.

    Look forward to trying it out.
    Friday, June 9, 2006 5:53 AM
  • User2004755294 posted

    If you join http://www.uaprofile.com you automatically get a free evaluation/developer licence for the system: and you can download the .NET .VB file (check the "DetectRight" link).

    I'd appreciate feedback on that, actually, of the "oh noes!" variety,or the "why did you do it this way? Much better to do it this day" kind of thing. I'm an experienced programmer, but .NET has the habit of making you regularly feel like a newbie all over again.

    Oh yes, because our system is Linux-based (sorry, .NET heads!), it demands you allow "unsafe" header parsing (if I could persuade Apache to do it right, I would!).

    Anyway, http://www.uaprofile.com is the place to start. We're still seriously looking at doing something with the browser.config format with DetectRight.

    Chris

    Thursday, August 3, 2006 5:03 PM