Cover by Brian Fling

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Strategy #1: Do Nothing

Our first of four multiserving strategies is to simply do nothing, or rather to wait for the technology to adapt to our principles—which actually isn’t as foolish as it might sound.

In 2005, the W3C created the Mobile Web Initiative (MWI) to attempt to bring the standardization it achieved with the desktop web to mobile. This was a difficult challenge, because the W3C had not issued any specifications for mobile standards. The announcement of the effort included an introduction from Tim Berners-Lee about the importance of “One Web,” a concept that has been a hotly debated topic in both the web and mobile communities ever since.

Initially, the W3C defined One Web this way:

One Web means making the same information and services available to users irrespective of the device they are using.

In other words, content should be published once and the device should be smart enough to know what to render; effectively, we wouldn’t need to do anything more than ensure that our content meets the content standards. This actually makes a lot of sense, as we’d be able to write once and publish everywhere to multiple devices and multiple contexts.

This do-nothing approach is actually a multiserving system in its own right: it detects devices, though without the need of a device database; it adapts content based on the requested device through thoroughly separated content and presentation and renders it to the requesting device. The multiserving system in this scenario is the browser, ...

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