International Herald Tribune

wml imagewml image The International Herald Tribune is a 117-year old Paris based English language daily newspaper. Owned by The New York Times, the paper is targeted at expatriates and travelers.

The IHT has both WAP1 and WAP2 mobile sites. Both contain the full text of dozens of articles from the paper’s web site. The WAP2 version has about twice as may stories as the WAP1 version and also has small photos at the top of most stories. While the sites aren’t flashy, they are actually very well designed for those of us who enjoy browsing a more or less entire daily newspaper on our mobiles.

The initial page is a headline page with the day’s top stories. This page is updated hourly. At the bottom of the headline page is a link to “News by section” which leads to the page shown above. There are 14 topics. Each topic contains about 10 stories (5 on the WAP1 page). Stories average around 3500 characters or about a dozen screenfulls on a typical midrange phone.

I did discover a problem viewing the WAP1 version on an older phone using the Openwave 4.1 WAP browser. Some pages failed to load on the phone, failing with a compile error. I traced this back to unescaped Dollar sign characters in the stories. The wml standard requires that each dollar sign in text be escaped by doubling – so $50.00 becomes $$50.00. This sort of silliness is the one of the primary reasons WAP1 has such a bad reputation. Still there are tens if not hundreds of millions of these old browsers out there. Openwave 4.1 browsers are particularly common in the US where Nextel is still introducing brand new phone models with this browser.

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