Dev.mobi has updated their free Ready.mobi site checker. The checker’s developer Ruadhan O’Donoghue, has a nice writeup explaining the new features here. I’m very impressed with this new mobile web development tool.
There are really two separate ready.mobi checkers. The basic checker, which requires no registration, checks a single page on 32 points of compliance with mobile web best practices. There is a mobile device emulator built into the result page that lets you see the site as it would appear on 5 different handsets. The emulator is a a licensed commercial product from Yospace which you get to use for free. The full blown, and admittedly much more feature rich, Yospace developer edition is £299 ($600) so this is a pretty good deal.
If you register on the dev mobi site, which is also free, you can use an advanced crawler which recursively checks every page of one or several sites. The recursive checker is nothing short of amazing. It plows through an entire site in a couple of minutes and comes up with these great reports that you can drill down into on a page by page basis to see exactly what problems were found.
These are both fantastic tools for the mobile web developer. There’s really nothing else like them. Besides testing markup, page size and adherence to the mobile ready guidelines you also get to see your site on five different emulated handsets. It’s not perfect, the test for “default entry mode” is broken in that it doesn’t recognize the valid xhtml-mp syntax for specifying input mode. I don’t completely agree with some of the best practices either but there’s no faster way to find the odd page on your sites that is too large or has validation errors. I thought my sites were pretty clean but ready.mobi found a problem. One of my pages was missing it’s DTD and had some invalid markup too.
I really have to hand it to the .mobi group. I had some reservations about the need for a separate mobile domain when it was announced. I wasn’t crazy about the choice of the hard to type .mobi over say .m or even .wap. I didn’t see any reason why a .mobi domain should cost $20/year when I could get .com or .net one for $6. But .mobi has really redeemed itself by giving back to the community of mobile publishers and developers. Much of that $14/year is going to .mobi’s constant marketing of the mobile web, their support of the WURFL project and especially their great dev.mobi developers site which is loaded with tutorials, sample code, page templates and some pretty active developer forums. Dev.mobi is more useful overall than any of the handset manufacturer and carrier’s developer sites.