Device Description Technologies Survey


The objective of the W3C Mobile Web Initiative is to support the development of Web sites that provide an appropriate user experience on mobile devices. It is envisaged that this will typically require adaptation of Web content. This, in turn, relies on the use of device knowledge - an understanding of the different characteristics, features, behaviours and limitations of mobile handsets.

This challenge of gathering, storing, and using this information in the mobile realm is widely recognised - both by various standards bodies (such as W3C and OMA), and by a number of software vendors in the content adaptation space (and related areas). There are also open-source initiatives to address this need (notably WURFL). However, the Device Description Working Group (DDWG) recognises that the success of the mobile Web will be greatly aided if there was a cohesion in these numerous, and often incompatible, approaches.

One of the first tasks of DDWG is to work on a Landscape document as described in the charter of the WG.

The main purpose of the DDWG Landscape document is to articulate what the W3C and other organizations are doing (or have already done) in this space and what the overall architecture could be for these technologies to work together to meet the goals of content adaptation.

By definition, this document refers to a wide range of technologies, standards, and initiatives. The DDWG Landscape document is not intended to draw conclusions about individual approaches - nor expose competitive information from those vendors and groups that have developed proprietary systems to meet the relevant requirements.

An awareness of these existing technologies is extremely important. The scope of the DDWG is not to invent new technologies but to make use of the already existing ones and to package them specifically for the task of authoring and content adaptation.

Therefore, a large part of the Landscape document is intended to review and describe these existing technologies.

In order to take into account the most comprehensive set of existing technologies, DDWG has decided to set up a public questionnaire.The results of this questionnaire will be used as input and material for the first deliverable of the group.


In order to be allowed to fill the questionnaire with the online form, you need to have a login from W3C. You can get one by filling the application form available at

If or when you have a login, you can fill the questionnaire

You can also decide to submit your answer by mail using the text version and then sending it to the DDWG private mailing-list

Please note the survey is open till September 30 2005, but answers sent after August 25 2005 may not be taken into account for the first draft of the landscape document.


All the answers will be available only to the members of DDWG. If responders want to make these answers publicly available they have the opportunity, while answering the questionnaire, to copy their answer to the public list of DDWG,

All the answers will be anonymized if cited in the document.

Contribution to the Device Description WG

If you want to submit information about your technology to the W3C MWI DDWG as input for the W3C Recommendation Process, you can follow any of the following options :

- Send documents to the public mailing-list
- If you are W3C Member, join MWI DDWG and send documents to the member restricted mailing-list


For any question related to this questionnaire you can contact Stephane Boyera .

Stephane Boyera, W3C Team Contact for Device Description Working Group
Rotan Hanrahan, Chair Device Description Working Group

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