Going Mobile with Drupal: Looking Ahead
Since writing my last blog post about Going Mobile with Drupal, the mobile device market continues to evolve at light speed. You’ve probably heard this, but access to the web through mobile devices is expected to outpace desktop web access by 2015. There has been a ton of discussion and thought around a “mobile first” design approach. While the “mobile first” approach is very forward-thinking, I’m not convinced it’s the right approach for every web project. Audience location still plays a key factor in determining which devices will be used to access a website. In developed countries such as the U.S., business users still access the web primarily through a PC as evidenced by a recent Business Insider survey. That said, we’ve seen some expected and unexpected developments over the last 18 months in an ever-competitive mobile space.
Changes in Mobile Device Market
About a year and half ago, Android smartphones were on pace to outsell iPhones. However, as of Q4 2012, market share has flipped in the iPhone’s favor for U.S. consumers, while Android smartphones (specifically Samsung manufactured) dominate Europe. Mobile web browsing continues to be dominated by Safari. Even with the release of new mobile OS’s Windows Phone, Ubuntu, Firefox OS and Blackberry 10, it’s safe to bet iOS and Android will continue to hold the top market tiers. Windows Phone could start pushing for market share but it’s highly contingent on developer, user adoption and most importantly marketing and partnerships (there are now a few Windows Phone apps that integrate Drupal).
Mobile Web Design Approach
With the number of mobile devices and OS’s increasing, responsive design has become the standard design methodology for the websites we build at Mediacurrent. We build all of our custom themes using Omega as a foundation. Our responsive design expert Kendall Totten has authored several posts on executing responsive design and using Omega.
Drupal 8 - Geared for Mobile
Drupal's history lies in content management and presentation on a desktop web browser. But, the release of Drupal 8 will come with significant changes in architecture that will target mobile content delivery to multiple devices—desktop, smartphone and tablet. The Web Services and Core Context Initiative (WSCCI) will focus Drupal on becoming a REST server with CMS capabilities, giving it the ability to serve content to multiple endpoints. These architectural changes in Drupal will position it to serve as the backbone for a multi-channel content delivery system with a “publish once, deploy to many” philosophy.