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Device independent access to Wikipedia

Author Paul Sponagl
Track Technical Infrastructure
License GNU Free Documentation License (details), Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike (details)
About the author
Paul Sponagl is responsible for Software Developement, Technology and Professional Services at Sevenval. After studying physics and computer science, Paul Sponagl held the position as a managing director at ACMEDIA, a software development company. Together with Jan Webering he establised the Sevenval AG in 1999.
The number of devices capable of web access is permanently increasing. Mobile Phones, PDAs, Game Consoles and Set Top Boxes are about to replace the PC as the one typical surf machine. Several projects have been started to make Wikipedia accessible by these devices. Whereas most of the projects focus on one special device or device family, we have applied our software framework to create a single access point to Wikipedia for all kinds of devices. Therefore a User Agent Profiling is used to recognize devices and adapt markup languages and display options to the capabilities of every single device.

I will showcase Wikipedia on several devices like PDA, Blackberry, Mobile Phone and a Dream Box. Furthermore, aspects on how Wikipedia can be used on several devices are given, since different contexts of usage require different devices and make different features of Wikipedia more or less useful. On a smartphone for example editing articles is rather uncomfortable but watching the history and discussion of articles might be a killer feature. These insights imply that different context of usage make interfaces which can be individualized even more valuable. Furthermore, I will present political and social implications of device independent access to knowledge.

The device independent access to Wikipedia can be used at The service shall be free now and in the future to all Wikipedia users. The current version has been developed in consultation with Wikimedia Foundation Germany. It is available in all languages provided by Wikipedia.

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