Wapple Architect – Mobilise Your WordPress Blog

by Martin Malden

Here was I, working away on my removing-plugins-crusade and I’ve blown it.

I just added one.

Actually, not really added – replaced. But I removed the one I’ve replaced a while ago, so it feels like adding.

This blog is now mobile-friendly again, thanks to the Wapple Architect.

I’d been using MobilePress to enable people using mobile devices to access my site, but a while ago I started getting a problem where my blog would freeze after I logged in.

I couldn’t do anything at all in the Admin screens, and it wasn’t available to normal viewers either. The only way to unfreeze it was to hit ‘Enter’ repeatedly until it generated a 500 server error (too many accesses).

Once the server error cleared everything was OK again.

Not scientific, I know, but it worked. 🙂

I went through a pretty laborious trouble shooting process and eventually disabled MobilePress. And since then I’ve had no problems.

That was a month ago and I was uncomfortable that I was no longer mobile-friendly. So I went in search of a new mobile solution.

There are a lots of them out there and I whittled them down to two: Mippin Mobiliser and Wapple Architect.

Mippin Mobiliser

My first choice was Mippin because it uses RSS to display your posts on a separate, mobile-friendly page. That appealed because, initially, I thought I wouldn’t have to add a plugin.

You open an account at Mippin, give it your RSS feed, and it will create a web page that displays your blog in mobile format. Quite neat.

There are some customisation options but they’re a bit limited and, although you can upload a logo, it’s limited to 120 X 30 pixels – not a lot. And no option to get your blog header up there.

None-the-less, the page layout (in mobile format) is good.

In order to automatically route mobile users to the Mippin version of your blog, however, it does require a plugin.

But it’s a pretty light one. It identifies that the browser accessing your blog is a mobile one and re-directs it to the Mippin version of your site.

Unfortunately I couldn’t get it to work.

It diverted mobile devices, but it sent them to a general Mippin page, not my Mippin page.

True, my blog was listed on the page it sent them to, but I didn’t want people to have to click another link to get to my blog. Too many barriers.

I contacted their support and they responded in less than a day (they’re based in UK and I’m based in Hong Kong so that will have had something to do with it).

But by then I’d dug around a bit more and found Wapple.

Wapple Architect

The Wapple solution is totally plugin driven – something I was initially hoping to avoid.

But, since Mippin was the only RSS based solution I’d found, I figured that if this site is to be mobile-friendly I have no choice but to use a plugin.

So installed Wapple and crossed my fingers.

I had to register, which gave me an API key. That allows me to access a whole range of settings – many more than were available on Mippin – and to manage my blog via my mobile device.

Plus, you get a custom stylesheet, and that enables you to create a layout and colour scheme on the mobile version of your blog that resembles the web version.

That’s really neat.

You can upload your original blog header and Wapple will scrunch it to fit the mobile screen it’s being viewed on.

It displays all the images your post contains, so my signature, which I put at the bottom of posts, shows up on the mobile version. And they’re clickable if you’ve linked them.

So all in all it’s highly functional and easy to set up.

There’s another bit of Wapple that I haven’t used yet: it enables you to mobilize your WordPress control panel.

I’m guessing this is probably pretty effective too, but I don’t use a mobile device to write posts, respond to comments and upgrade plugins etc, so I can’t give you any first hand impressions. If I did, though, this would probably be magic.

So yes – I’ve added a plugin. But this one is doing a great job and hasn’t caused me any problems, so I’m a happy bunny.

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