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Mobile Church Websites

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Let's face it, the world is going mobile. While there are hundreds of millions of people with broadband internet there are billions of people with mobile phones. As mobile phones get high speed internet and people start to use it more the number of people who access high speed internet on mobile phones is expected to pass the number of people who access it from a desktop. The world is going mobile. This means mobile phones are really important to churches. In this episode we start the conversation about mobile devices and church websites.

Nice one guys!

Hi Guys,

Very interesting show on the 'abouts' if not the 'how tos'! I've made a mobile/iphone designed site for my church at: http://m.minehead-baptist.com/ and to do mobile detection I use this script: http://www.brainhandles.com/2007/10/15/detecting-m... easy to set-up and does the job nicely!

I'm also starting to work on: http://www.ministrypool.com/churchwebhelp/ should be fun!

Have a great time at the convention(s)!

agreed good one

Good show. Most iPhone sites WORK on Android. Yours doesn't. When I get to the office I will post a link to the Android SDK which should let you test the site on Android. It is a free download. You do not have to register or pay to be a developer. Using this SDK. Should help others develop for iPhone as well since the G1 uses webkit.

This post was done on my G1 on the main site.

Oh and OpenID does not work on the iPhone site.

Not intended for Android

Right...our detection is only detecting iPhones so Android phones should be directed to the main version of the site. At this time, we don't have any plans to develop for other mobile devices.

I'm not sure where you're seeing openid on the iphone site :) There isn't any login at all on that site, it's only intended as a content browsing site without any 'community' functionality.

-Rob Feature
Geeks and God Co-Host
www.mustardseedmedia.com

Should Add Android Support

We should add android support. The android browser is a webkit based browser. The only big difference between the safari browser on the iphone and the android browser is the JavaScript engine. And, that shouldn't be a big deal.... that is unless someone else knows other major differences.

Matt Farina
Geeks and God Former Co-Host
www.mattfarina.com

Redirect to main site?

5

If one redirects mobile users to a mobile site and provides a link to the main site for mobile users, wouldn't that create an infinite loop and prohibit mobile users from ever getting to the main site?

Avoiding the Loop

On our site, it's pretty simple. Our redirect only detects when entering on the landing page (the root). That landing page ACTUALLY has a URL of /home. So, our 'visit the normal site' redirect goes to /home, not the root, and therefore the redirect doesn't happen.

Good question...I had to think about it for a minute :)

-Rob Feature
Geeks and God Co-Host
www.mustardseedmedia.com

Apple has only 9% of total PDA sales.

The iphone only has 9% of total PDA sales. This is expected to increase over time, but we will have to see.

My thing is that I don't see why I would want to give up my TREO 750 with windows mobile for an iphone. I know an iphone can be jail braked to get it to function like a windows mobile, but then everytime the iphone's software is updated, it has to be jail braked again.

For mobile websites, I don't think the site should skip the content. People need to be able to see links to complete stories. Many people who have PDAs travel a lot and have time to kill, so reading a complete story is important to them.

You are right about a PDA web browser being more important in the future. Both Apple and Microsoft are working on having phones work without needing to be connected to a computer. In the future all downloads, software updates, and storage for mobile phones will come form the internet cloud.

Thanks for giving us great podcasts!!!!!!!!

Tim

One other factor to Consider

When thinking about doing a mobile site, and thinking about which devices to test/target, you should probably research which phones/devices are most common in your geographic area.

For example, I live in Fargo, ND. North Dakota has almost no AT&T coverage and they won't sell an iPhone plan. So it probably doesn't make sense for my church (or other churches in the area) to do an iPhone site. (Yes, there is the Touch, but that's not quite as mobile, so maybe the benefit just isn't there)

Also, you didn't mention Windows Mobile. I've heard it's not that great, especially IE, but I don't have any personal experience. Is it worth trying to do a site for Windows Mobile phones?

Just in time

Thanks for the show!!! I am going to be developing an iPhone site for our church during an marathon coding session next week and it is great to see you point of view. If you have any thing you want us to try that you didn't get a chance to let us know. We have a lot of stuff we want to include and it will be a fun challenge!

www.westwinds.org

Have you guys seen this?

Just ran across this blog that is specific to mobile Drupal.
http://www.mobiledrupal.com/

Another resource

Just came across http://www.mofuse.com

iui for drupal

Did you guys use the Drupal iui theme for the G&G site? Yours look super hot and works well but doesn't have some of the iui animations... what you you think I should use? help :-)

iUi Theme

Yeah, the iUi theme for Drupal is just a quick adaptation of the iUi framework...but it's very basic and not real usable (I met RobLoach (the developer of the theme) in NYC and he agreed...it's not super useful).

There really should be alot more depth when doing the iphone app than what that offers...that's why I just went custom while I plan another method for really robust iphone sites.

In my opinion...iUi theme in drupal right now is just a proof of concept...it needs some work to be really usable.

-Rob Feature
Geeks and God Co-Host
www.mustardseedmedia.com

need for a good Drupal theme

It is great to hear that you guys are thinking of creating a good drupal theme for mobile sites! I developed the site this weekend using the iui theme and it was a little tough. I also added some fun jquery slideshows to add some spice to the site. I just have to work on some podcast feed stuff for non iphone browsers and then we will be releasing the site.

Thanks for all the help and ideas from your last podcast! It really made us think about how the site will be used and what direction to take it in.

Ill post the link when we have it all done.

We made a separate mobile

We made a separate mobile version of the students news web site for our university. - http://www.mytyndale.ca/m

We stripped it down to the core info that they will need [Alerts, News & Classifieds] and pulled the info from the same db that the main site (http://www.mytyndale.ca) uses. Simple and easy - quick to develop.

Seems to be working pretty good.

Web app to native app?

5

I have been looking up ways of converting a web app to a native app or using a web app with a safari wrapper of a native app. I also ran across a project that has code to help bring web development techniques into the native app world.

It is a cool idea for web developers to get started with native app development. They even have a hands on training at 360|iDev in San Jose, March 1st

http://phonegap.com/

Mobile Sites

5

Hi Guys:
I have recently developed a Drupal site for my charity and stumbled upon your site while looking for Drupal tutorials. Your idea for Mobile church intrigued me. Within a short period of Goggling I was able to locate MobiSiteGalore http://mobisitegalore.com/index.html . It provided a free platform to create mobile sites as well as free hosting. Within hours my site was ready. It accepts donations through PayPal. I purchased a mobi domain and moved the site to my regular ISP. This could be cheaper solution to churches. Please visit my Drupal and mobi sites. Currently I am learning Android development.

I am a person of faith and working in faith based charity, Muslim in my case. I was pleased to hear your inspiring podcast with your solid commitment to faith, morality and what is important in life. I wish you success.

I am a retired engineer and I started this charity 5 years ago, feeding the hungry in Toronto, Canada. We have been consistently among ten largest donors to the local food bank.

www.MuslimServ.com
www.MuslimServ.mobi

Is the mobile web coming of age?

There is an interesting article from the BBC today: "Is the mobile web coming of age?"
You might like to read it as it is related to this subject.

The mobile web is the next big thing.

hundreds of thousands of people are on broadband internet through their computer. Billions have cell phones and they are going the route to have web browsers. Is there any more reason than that to embrace it? :)

Matt Farina
Geeks and God Former Co-Host
www.mattfarina.com

Mobile web (in India)

Indeed.
I want to write a longer post on my blog some time about the use of mobiles in India, from what I saw there. For now though, I'll say that "Mobile" is the way things are definitely going, and I wish the church had the motivation Vodafone had for reaching a country like India. They had recently entered the Indian market (by buying a different mobile company there), and had already almost completely saturated roadsides everywhere with images of their logo.

Almost done!

We are almost done with our app and wanted to know if anyone here had comments before we released it to the public!

http://www.westwinds.info

We have most of it done but a little bit of content to add here and there.

Also I just did a cool interview with the developer of iUi and the Facebook App on our podcast The App Show and he had some cool things to say.

http://www.theappshow.com

Anyone else have a iphone site or app for your church?

Mobile Church Sites

If this topic interests you, check out Creating A Mobile Version Of A Church Website by Anthony Coppedge. Blessings! -NP