Target Windows Phone CSS

Posted on Sunday January 2012

I got me a Windows phone 7 recently or WinMoPho as we like to say. Having never had an iPhone I have to say, "hey! this phone is sweet!". My iPhone brandishing buddies, however, say "hey! you're on crack!"

The mango update has made up a fair bit of ground, so instead of the old and insane IE7 based browser we now have a quite tolerable IE9 based browser.

But I wanted more.

There's been some nice weather recently, we hit 40 degrees the other week, so I like to keep an eye on the weather.

I wrote a little metro styled javascript weather app for Melbourne awhiles back, never did write a blog post on it, but it's just pulling some XML and JSON from the BOM and reexposing it as a JSON service in a format I liked.

Target that WinMoPho

The layout is reasonably fluid, CSS ain't really my bag, I just aim for "less is more" and try and write as little as possible of it. I wanted to view it on the phone and see it in a sensible format, that is each day tile is laid out vertically.

So google some "target windows phone 7 css" and get this on conditional comments. Quite an amusing read, particularly the nearly 100% negative comments, (although this was even funnier, honestly WTF are Microsoft thinking? "We've also added support for -webkit-..."!?!??! O rly?

The first suggestion is an IE conditional comment:

<!--[if IEMobile]>
<p>Welcome to Internet Explorer Mobile.</p>

(Un)fortunately this has no effect. Much googling later and we discover WinMoPho 7.5, with its IE9 based browser, does not support this. But it does support media queries:

<link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css"
  media="screen and (max-device-width: 480px)"
  href="mobile.css" />

And my mobile.css styles suddenly kick in. Or at least, some of them do. WinMoPho is still scaling the page and pretending it's 1024 by something.

Another MSDN blog post comes up with the viewport meta tag. Thankfully this is a fairly standard tag (not sure if it is a "standard" standard?) and is supported by iOS and others. So we set:

<meta content="width=device-width" name="viewport">
<link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" 
    media="screen and (device-width: 480px)" 
    href="mobile.css" />

And lo! it is working as expected. And quite probably on an iPhone too!

Making the pretty

So now I want to pin that URL to my start page. iPhone, iPad lets you have a pretty icon for a "web app", (and a splash screen).

Not so WinMoPho. Not even the favicon. Windows Phone will use what is on the screen as the tile image, which is a bit crap.

You can use this to kinda fake it (it requests the apple-touch-icon via a bookmarklet). That is actually rather tricky. The bookmarklet requests the icon and replaces the document of the page your on with it. You then pin the page. I settled on just putting an image at the bottom of the page, scrolling down and then pinning it. Crappy! And then I totally stole that dudes idea! Slightly less crappy.

Poor WinMoPho users, still not upto par with your privileged iPhone elite.