WebClip2Go - Web Page Snippets For Your Phone

WebClip2GoIf you're like me, I bet there's a lot of web content you'll like to use on your phone but which isn't available in mobile friendly form. The traditional solution to this problem is to use a full web browser like Opera Mini or a transcoder like Mowser, both of which work pretty well but can still leave you scrolling through lots of irrelevant junk to get to the content.

Startup eZee inc has released a free service called WebClip2Go that takes a different approach to mobilizing web sites. Instead of reformatting the whole web page, with WebClip2Go you specify the particular region or "clip" of the page that you want to make mobile.

I can see a lot of uses for this. For example, I'd like to have just the portion of the local bus schedule that covers my commute on my phone or the latest piece from MSN investment columnist Jim Jubak. Neither of these are available in a mobile version or even a full RSS feed.

WebClip2Go can do this although currently it's not very easy to create clips. You have to use regular expressions, a powerful but rather obtuse pattern matching language which can even drive experienced software developers to tears. WebClip2Go offers a short regular expressions tutorial with examples to help get you started.

If the site you are clipping has well structured markup and the content block you want to clip has an attribute like an id or class then it's actually pretty easy to modify one of the examples to make it work. I was able to do that to create a clip of the main content on the front page of the WapReview Directory using the expression "${//div[@id='primary'][0]}" which means grab the contents of the first (and only) div with the id of 'primary'. I couldn't get a clip of the bus schedule or Jubak's column to work though, but I am regular expression challenged. Michael Yuan at WebClip2Go has offered to create clips for anyone who asks, I sure hope he doesn't get inundated with requests!South By Southwest Mobile Companion

If what you want to mobilize has an RSS feed, it's very easy to do with WebClip2Go, no regular expressions needed, you just fill out a form entering the clip's title, feed url, tags (to make your clip easy to find in the WebClip2Go directory) and whether you want pages and external links transcoded by Mowser or Google.

The WebClip2Go team recognizes that creating regular expressions is beyond the ability of most users and promises "We are working on a solution that will let you drag and drop content directly from the browser window." In addition, WebClip2Go.com has a searchable library of several hundred clips covering many popular websites including the SXSW Mobile Companion, a complete guide the South By Southwest Festival kicking off tomorow in eZeeLab's home town of Austin.

WebClip2Go is a great and useful concept, once the drag and drop clip builder comes is available I can see this really taking off.

Link: WebClip2Go.com

More on WebClip2Go:
WebClip2Go - Michael Yuan
eZeeLabs WebClip2Go, SXSW Interactive 2008 Mobile Companion - About Mobility - The Mobility Weblog

5 thoughts on “WebClip2Go - Web Page Snippets For Your Phone

  1. Hi Dennis!
    You are right, there is a lot of web content you'll like to use on your phone :o)
    And Thanks for the hint on WebClip2Go. I also like a similar service called blueapple.mobi (in my opinion better than e.g. vtap.com).
    Keep up this good blog.
    Steven Climb
  2. Pingback: Always On Real-Time Access » Carnival of the Mobilists #114

  3. Both Mowser and Google GWT will redirect mobile browser to a mobile site if you put it's URL in a "link rel" header:

    <link rel='alternate' type='application/text/html' media='handheld' href="http://wapreview.mobi" title='Mobile/PDA' />

    Michael, nice job with WebClip2Go and congratulations on the launch.
  4. Thanks Dennis for the review. Also, thanks for creating the WapReview web clip -- it seems that mowser is quite smart in re-directing to your mobile URL. :)

    I will try Jubak's stock picks. But it is hard since it is a 7 column table! I will report back how it goes!


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