Mobile Site Generator Update: v1.1 (RSS feed parsing)

Last night I pushed out the first major update to the Mobile Site Generator. There’s one big new feature: It can now pull in content to a page from an RSS feed! This feature assumes your web server is running php with cURL enabled. If you don’t know whether your server meets these requirements, there’s one easy way to find out: Try it out 🙂

I consider this feature to be pretty experimental, so I’d love any feedback on how well it works and whether I’ve explained what it does well.

Note that this isn’t a feature you have to use. If you want, you can keep using the generator and pretend it doesn’t exist. I also recommend not using it more than once in your generated mobile site – pulling in multiple RSS feeds can slow down the page dramatically. I hope to build in some ways around this problem in the future.

I’ve been thrilled to see the response to the generator! I’m glad that people are finding it useful. If you’ve launched a site and used the generator at some point along the way, please let me know about it. I’d love to build a practical showcase of what this thing can do.

Mobile Site Generator

I’m really excited to launch a side project this morning that I’ve been working on for a while:

Mobile Site Generator

After filling out a form with page titles and few other bits of info, the generator spits out a fully functional mobile site (tested on iPhones, iTouches, and Android devices) ready for uploading to your server as an HTML file!

I’ve been asked a lot of questions about how we made the UNC Libraries’ mobile website. When I start to talk about the iUI framework we used, I see a lot of eyes glaze over. But it’s really easy! I’m not an expert coder, honest, and I made it work. Anyone who has basic familiarity with web development and a little time on their hands to puzzle out a few details can use iUI.

But while I’ve seen a lot of talk about mobile sites for libraries, I don’t see nearly as many actually implementing them. I think a lot of librarians are intimidated. But IUI’s code is actually so simple that I was able to automate its creation! The Mobile Site Generator will hopefully help people over the first hurdle: it creates a framework for a mobile site that you can then tweak & customize to you heart’s content.

As you’ll no doubt see immediately after clicking the link above, the MSG (gee, what a great acronym I picked!) has an interface that’s… shall we say less than ideal 🙂 I plan on making it prettier with time, but I wanted to get it functional and online in time to point it out in some presentations I’m giving in the near future.

There’s more information on what the generator does over on the MSG page. I welcome your comments and suggestions! You can leave comments here, on the MSG page itself, or just e-mail me.