In my previous post I give a quick and dirty overview of mobile web site design today and it really is a challenge to put together a strategy because there are so many mobile devices out there with so many different capabilities.
1and1 offers both access to Adobe Dreamweaver and its own Mobile Web Site Builder.
Wanting to avoid labor intensive solutions I look for tools to streamline the process of delivering mobile content to devices of various capabilities. Dreamweaver offers some good tools for writing valid code, a WYSIWYG view, a multiscreen preview for viewing 3 different screen sizes at once, Device Central for emulating different devices, and a validation tool for W3C validation. Still, there are some things that are different for different devices requiring coding to adapt to the different devices.
On the other hand, for at least a brochure site the Mobile Web Site Builder does quite a job with very little work although I found that it didn’t do everything perfectly.
You can access the mobile web builder on the home page of the 1and1 admin control panel. The wizard generates a site based on your existing desktop site. Once you setup the site there, you go back there to access the wizard to make changes. The mobile site appears to be dynamically generated, there are no pages that can be accessed by FTP to work with outside of the wizard.
As far as bugs, while the builder did a pretty good job of converting the text of the desktop site to the mobile one there were a few places it missed. For example the builder skipped the bulleted points on one of the pages and some of the words in the description of the site. The fix was that I had manually edit the description and to write a page that converted properly to the mobile page and put it on the website. There is a tool to change the source page for a mobile page.
All in all, it is a viable alternative that delivers a content adaptive site while avoiding the labor intensive programming that hand coding requires.
The interface allows for some customization, things like Contact Us and Call Me Back Links, color schemes, backgrounds and so forth. But the coolest feature is that the content is delivered adaptively to each device.