Chapter 6. Coding Markup

The standards are sometimes utopias, while the real world is something different. Many devices officially support standards, but in practice some feature is missing; many other devices add support for more technologies besides what is covered by the standards.

The W3C maintains a list of Mobile Web Best Practices at; dotMobi adds more advice in the Developer’s Guide at; and Luca Passani, an independent developer well known in the mobile web market (you’ll see why in a few chapters), maintains an alternate set of guidelines, called Global Authoring Practices for the Mobile Web, at

They are decent resources, and they have much good advice for multiplatform mobile web development. We will take that and go further, testing every feature in the standards (and some nonstandard ones) to draw real conclusions about their usage.

We will go through a typical document, from the heading to the body structure, looking at the most common design patterns for document structure, including forms, frames, tables, links, and images. We will test every possible solution for each topic in every mobile platform so we can get some useful information about what we can and cannot use.

Heading Structure

The <head> part of a mobile web document will be very similar to that in a desktop web document, with the addition of some new <meta> tags useful only in mobile browsers.

First we’ll define a title, as for any ...

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