Mobile-specific tools in Infusion?

Colin Clark colinbdclark at
Wed Aug 19 22:40:48 UTC 2009

Hi everyone,

Recently, I've been thinking a bit about the components we've been  
creating for Engage's mobile features, and how they relate to Infusion  
as a product.

As you know, we've been extending the Fluid Skinning System to include  
new themes that provide natural-looking visuals for mobile devices.  
Our iPhone FSS theme is shaping up quite nicely, and themes for other  
devices will follow. We've also been creating reusable, generalized  
components to support navigation, tagging, and other common  
interactions on a mobile device.

On the other hand, Infusion has a clear identity as a product at this  
point. It provides a collection of tools for creating great JavaScript  
user interfaces on the Web that are more usable and accessible.  
Infusion is solid and production-ready, and works across a broad range  
of browsers. It's also server-agnostic, unobtrusive, and highly  

Given this criteria, I think it makes sense to include the mobile  
components and tools such as the mobile FSS themes in Infusion,  
assuming they're broadly useful to many of our users beyond the museum  
world. Obviously, any components coming from our work on Engage will  
need to be sufficiently mature and generalized before being included  
in Infusion.

Chatting about this with Michelle, she raised some concern about  
including code in Infusion that isn't tested or useful across the full  
range of A-grade desktop browsers. She suggested the idea of a  
separate, mobile-specific product or "module" for Infusion that would  
be separately packaged and distributed. Given our move towards a  
usable custom Infusion builder for 1.2, where users can pick and  
choose components "a la carte," this issue might be somewhat moot. But  
browser support is an important issue to think about.

Interestingly, the Q4 2009 version of the Yahoo! A-grade matrix will  
also include mobile browsers, so this is clearly an issue other portal  
and toolkit authors are thinking about, too. If we do start to  
introduce mobile-only components into Infusion, I'd suggest we should  
clearly label them as such in the release--just like we do with our  
Sneak Peak, Preview, and Release-grade components. We'll also want to  
extend our browser support pages to clearly articulate which mobile  
devices we test with. Over the long term, we'll endeavour to ensure  
that many of our components have broad support--and unique interaction  
styles--across both desktop and mobile browsers.

I'd love to hear others' thoughts about this issue. Do mobile-specific  
tools, such as the mobile FSS themes and the Screen Navigator  
component, belong in the Infusion product when they are sufficiently  

Example of Screen Navigator and mFSS iPhone theme in action (use with  


Colin Clark
Technical Lead, Fluid Project

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