The Wapple Mobile Plugin

A Holiday Weekend Toy for RE Blog Geeks

I don’t make this stuff up, honest.   It is the wapple, not to be confused with the Whopper from Burger King or the one from WarGames.

It has nothing to do with Apple even though there is a W in front of it.   This isn’t short for turning your WordPress blog into an Apple   transforming it into a Wapple.

The Holiday Weekend

Good RE Blog Geeks have a hard time with holiday weekends.   It throws off our schedules.   We don’t live normal lives, so when a holiday weekend comes along there is more emotional trauma than relief.   In an effort the minimize the effects of this trauma I’ve found it beneficial to have something to provide a distraction.   A project, something to focus on, something to geek over for a few days, that’s just the ticket.

Wapple Mobile Plugin

The wapple is the perfect project.   It has lots of options on the setup screen, it does require a mobile device to check and view your changes and modifications, but what Geek doesn’t have a berry or iPhone.

I’ve spent a few hours of “Research” on this plugin today after a comment from the Plugin author Rich Gubby came in on the Mobile, Mobile, Mobile post about how important it is to have your site set up for mobile devices.

Disclaimer or something like one

I don’t usually approve any comments coming from authors of sites, or service, or any one that is recommending a site or service they are offering.   It’s my policy.   Most of the time the site or service being recommended is so bad I would have to write a post saying why this was a bad idea.   I’d rather write about good things to implement than to spend time flaying someone site or service.

Therefore I held Rich’s comment in moderation while I could check out his plugin and the claims made in his comment.

“Hi – I’ve just checked out your site on my blackberry and whilst it gives you a mobile version, it looks nothing like your website – you’ve completed lost your brand identity!

The good news is that I’ve created a new plugin for wordpress called the Wapple Architect Mobile Plugin for WordPress written in WAPL. It makes your blog work perfectly on every mobile phone in the world, keeps the same URL structure and allows you to retain your brand identity by carrying across styles and allowing you to upload mobile logos.

Version 1.4.9 has been released and there are a ton of features (more than any other mobile plugin) giving you real control over how your mobile site looks and functions. You can make your blog look absolutely amazing on mobile!

The homepage can be found here: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/wapple-architect/ and here are a few screenshots of it in action: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/wapple-architect/screenshots/

If you fancy giving it a go, let me know and I’ll do my best to help out!”

It didn’t take long to download the plugin and install it. Doing a search From the Add New Plugin page for Wapple brought up just one plugin. I installed it right from inside WP. I love this feature. Once activated I headed over to the settings page.

But wait, there was a read warning at the top once I said to activate.   I had to apply for an API key from Wapple.   I’m not a big fan of plugins that require an API key for them to function.   I’ve had several and my site is dependent on that site in this situation.   I’ve had several plugins that brought down functionality on my site when they weren’t up and running.   The short lived Click-cha was one of those.

But I found all I needed was the API and after signing up and receiving a couple of emails I had my API key to enter and save.   Now it was on to the options.

Settings Dashboard

Settings dashboard is more descriptive than settings page.   There are multiple tabs for setting this up to tailor it like you want.   There is some thought that has to go into this.   I’m not going to spoil the fun of figuring this thing out.   At least not this weekend.   I will point out a couple of things for you to check if you are using this on a blog you depend on for business.

Check your forms

I installed this on my Tucson Real Estate blog before installing it on the lab.   The first thing I check anytime I make a change to a theme or display of the site are the forms.   The CMA Request form, the Dream Home Finder form and the Contact Form in this case.   The contact form did not display properly, it couldn’t even be filled out.   The Sitemap and Archives pages were fine.   The Contact form is very important and I disabled the plugin and went back to the WP Mobile plugin I had been using on that site.

Wapple on the Blog Lab

Wapple turned out to be like Wibiya in that I had to use a separate email address for each site to get an API key.   I did so and in a few minutes had the Lab up and running on this mobile plugin.

If you have a mobile plugin already activated you should disable it while playing with your Wapple.

The Styling claim Rich made I’ve chalked this up to an over exuberant parent.   You can with a couple of hours work create some header and footer graphics to make it look a little similar but your styling won’t be there.   Captions around images won’t be there.   Image Right or Image Left won’t work either.   But with some creativity you can get the header image to look similar.

Hint on Header Images.   If you want your Blog title to be read and have a header image you need to create a custom image with the title in it. that is the only way it will show up.

Pages Headers appear at the bottom

Here’s a little bug that will probably be fixed soon.   Posts display fine, but Pages have the header appearing at the bottom of the page not the top.

One final hint then I’m going to let you go play.   If you want the Title of your blog to be a link you have to turn on the option to have the Header image link to home.   Even if you don’ t have a header image you have to check this if you want the title of your blog to link home.

That’s all I’m going to say for now.   Go play, geek out, have a great weekend and let me know what you think of the Wapple if you take it for a spin.

I’m leaving it up all weekend as the Lab’s mobile theme.   I might even try adding a header image and one for the footer as well.

I’m sure Rich would like any feedback you can provide him.   He has the makings of one of those must have plugins.   But not quite yet.

Comments

  1. It is a good plugin just like this area rugs at importflooring which really make a point to be the factor of a house’s good design.

  2. Brad, & All the Lab Rats,

    Here is a classic Spam comment. I didn’t throw Brad’s comment in the Askimet Spam because it is so blatant it makes a good example of WHAT NOT TO DO when leaving comments on blogs.

    I don’t think it will be long before all of Brad’s comments go directly to spam filters so I decided to let this one go and add the Can Spam Comment Can.

    BTW, the link only goes to google.

    Dave

  3. When weekend holiday comes mostly we feel emotional disturbance than relief. It is a good project.

  4. Hi Dave,

    Nice writeup! I appreciate the objective evaluation on this plugin. I am currently using it on my site and one thing I would like to see is an ability to incorporate logging in or out (Meta widget, perhaps).

    Otherwise, for the most part, it keeps a good deal of CSS styling from the desktop site. It adapts well depending on mobile device (it adjusted well between my wife’s BB 8320 and my 8900).
    .-= Ryan´s last blog ..God Knows the Way =-.

  5. It’s interesting how many real estate bloggers just let spam sit on their sites. Good job marking this example though.

  6. Hi Dave,

    Thanks for your post – it’s very much appreciated and is invaluable to the development of the plugin!

    I’ve been working hard on getting these issues ironed out (as well as adding a few new ones!).

    You’re absolutely right with regards to some options not being well documented – I’ve made an attempt at improving them, hopefully I’ve done ok – but I’m a coder and not a documentor so I’m sure there will be further improvements!

    The page header appearing at the bottom – that’s a really strange one and I can’t replicate it anywhere. It must be something to do with a plugin you’ve got installed that is outputting the content before anything else – but it’s only on pages.. no matter, I’ve put a bug fix in for it!

    I’ve given you the option of having a header logo AND some header text – my fault, it should have been in there from the start!

    There are plenty of other new features, if you want to head over and read them all (far too many to put in a post comment!), the URL is here: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/wapple-architect/changelog/ – any feedback would be very gratefully received!
    .-= Rich Gubby´s last blog ..Why Joomla site authors need to Mobilize their Websites =-.

  7. Rich,

    I upgraded to 1.5 but unfortunately it made it so the blog wouldn’t load the mobile version then locked up the berry. I tried it twice after rebooting the berry with the same result. I had to go back to my old mobile plugin which loads fast and is without issues.

    I know Wapple is still beta. Good luck with future developement.

    Dave

  8. Hi Dave – we had a few server issues earlier which would have caused errors (great timing huh!). They’ve all been resolved and if you fancy giving it another go it’d be great to hear what you thought!

    Thanks,
    Rich

  9. Rich,

    That’s good to know, but it is also one of the reasons I don’t like using plugins that are third party dependent. After going to the Lab on the berry twice and having it hang I had to reboot the blackberry to get it to work again.

    I really don’t want people going to any of the blogs from a mobile device and having to reboot their device because of a third party server issue.

    I do like the graphics on the mobile using Wapple, but locking up a mobile device is a deal breaker for me. I’ll stick with plain vanilla and a very quick load.

    But please keep us up to date on how this plugin continues to evolve.

    Have a great week

    Dave

  10. Thanks for the detailed review. I will check it out.
    Aloha,
    Keahi
    .-= Keahi Pelayo´s last blog ..Newly Listed Honolulu Homes and Condos =-.

  11. This is a very useful plugin and I really don’t see a reason to not have it. Why not make your blog accessible to mobile devices, right? I’ll check it out on one of my blogs and see how it works out, just have to find someone with a web-capable phone first. Thanks for sharing and reviewing this plugin.

  12. Alex,

    I found your site loaded very quickly even without a mobile plugin.

    My only objection to this one is the reliance on an external server connection associated with the plugin. If that server is down, your mobile version is gone.

    I prefer a mobile plugin that is on site and won’t go down unless you do.

    Dave

  13. Alex – thanks for the comment about the plugin, much appreciated!

    Dave – you’re right about a third party and is something that I’m addressing in 2 stages.

    The first stage is complete – I’ve made a few new amendments to the code so that the way it communicates is slightly different to before and has more error checking. If the Wapple servers are down (and that’s not very often), the very worst that you’ll get is the normal web version.

    Stage 2 (which I’m working on right now), is providing a mobile service in the event that your site can’t communicate with Wapple. It’ll still be a better mobile plugin than any out there and will work off your own servers.

    I’ll keep you posted on my progress, I’d really like the opportunity to change your mind and use my plugin again!

  14. Hi there!

    Just thought I’d keep you up to date on my mobile development for wordpress!

    Work has been continuing on the Wapple Architect plugin at a pace and there is now a lot more functionality and stability in the plugin.

    However, it’s my new plugin that I thought you might like to take a look at. It’s called WordPress Mobile Admin and you can download it from here: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/wordpress-mobile-admin/

    If you want to see what it can make your blog look like, check out the screenshots: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/wordpress-mobile-admin/screenshots/

    If you fancied test driving it, I’d be eager to hear what you thought!

  15. Hi,
    I do respect Rich Gubby’s work on Wapple Plugin which is certainly not easy. But Wapple plugin communicates to external server to do various tasks which I personally don’t prefer.

    I taught in a simple way.

    Why not create a mobile specific theme and have a plugin which will make sure to display this mobile theme to your mobile phone users!

    So I created IamMobiled Mobile Plugin and Blue Heart Mobile Theme

    Here are some key features:
    1) Comes with a mobile theme “Blue Heart”
    2) Automatic mobile detection
    3) Images are optimized for mobile view
    4) Make money through integrated ad system.
    5) Optimized for touch screen phones
    6) Mobile users can even leave comments
    7) Mobile users can search for contents.

    Please check it out and let me know your feedback and suggestions at haress@iammobiled.com
    Plugin can be found at:
    http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/iammobiled-mobile/

  16. Haress Das,

    I will do that, thanks for the update and info on your plugin.

    Dave

  17. Thanks Dave,

    Let me know your feedback on how my plugin works.

    Take care,
    Haress
    .-= Haress Das´s last blog ..IamMobiled Mobile Theme “Blue Heart” =-.

  18. Haress,

    I took it for a spin on ForNoRealReason.com. It functions OK. But here is the thing. You are up against the gold standard of WP Mobile by Alex King.

    The difference I noticed right away. WP Mobile loads the site faster. But your plugin is no slouch. WP Mobile does a better job of handling graphics in a post. They load quicker, have the captions included and optimize for the max screen size of the mobile browser.

    WP Mobile provides a more complete navigation structure of categories, pages, and switching between mobile and standard site viewing. The text isn’t as big in WP Mobile but it uses the screen real estate better.

    But, as I said earlier, this is the gold standard. (IMO) and you have a great start with your plugin.

    Suggestions:

    Take a good look at WP Mobile. Implement some of those navigation features, add caption support for your theme. Add a few more theme options (and color schemes).

    What you have would be my second choice for a mobile browser plugin right now. It beats out Wapple for reason you stated, it is dependent on an external server.

    Dave

  19. Hi Dave,
    I certainly agree that Mr. Alex King had set a high standard in mobile plugin. To be honest this is my first ever WordPress plugin project. I’m very happy that you did like my plugin. In the coming days, I will spend some time adding features like captions and theme options like you said. I’ll keep you posted on that. Being a student, this whole process is so thrilling and exciting! 🙂

    Thanks,
    Haress
    .-= Haress Das´s last blog ..IamMobiled Mobile Theme “Blue Heart” =-.

  20. Haress,

    Talk about taking a big first bite. You certainly did that. I can’t wait to see what you come up with next. It is amazing how much we learn doing this stuff isn’t. What you have done with this first plugin means I look forward to your continued progress as a plugin author.

    The Lab is always open to you.

    Dave