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Drupal and the Mobile World

By aleung
May. 27, 2009

I am currently at the NetSquared Conference in San Jose where we are exploring how non profits can use mobile technologies for their causes. Some of these non profit mobile applications include:

1) Digital Democracy's Handheld Human Rights: a tool for allowing human rights activists to learn about human right abuses as they happen via SMS messaging.

2) SeeClickFix: a mobile application for users to report non emergency policy issues such as graffiti and use the power of the crowd to voice these issues to the appropriate government bodies. I was looking at how Drupal can be developed and used to power some of these applications. Even though Drupal is developed primarily as a web content management system, there has been a few recent changes that allow for Drupal to power mobile web sites.

Some information about implementing mobile Drupal websites are:

1) Drupal Mobile Modules: allows for the creation of non styled version of node content.

2) Using Multi-Site to have mobile versions of a complete Drupal site.

The challenge in creating mobile web sites is that there are a lot more browsers that need to be supported and that a lot of browsers do not follow the web standards. At the conference, we discussed how SMS technologies may be a better solution than Mobile web sites as SMS is used by more people in the world. Since Drupal supports web services such as XML RPC and SOAP, it is not that challenging to have a Drupal application communicate with the SMS gateways. If you are looking for a free SMS gateway, Tatango is a great option.

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