I read with much interest Nick Momrik’s “Wow Your iPad Readers” article this morning; being able to display WordPress.com blogs (as well their .org counterparts) on the iPad in a very tablet-friendly mode is very cool indeed.
I, however, haven’t jumped on the iPad bandwagon – yet. And when/if I do make a tablet purchase, what if I go the Android route, or BlackBerry Playbook, or even HP’s WebOS? I’m hoping that OnSwipe is working on implementations of this plugin for the “other” tablets that are currently flooding the market this year.
Before I have an iPad, how can I tell what my WordPress site looks like on the iPad? As far as I know, there is no emulation software I can run on my PC, nor any websites that will let me get a glimpse of the OnSwipe’d version of my blog. Thankfully, Apple has provided a solution to this problem, for all of us who are iPad-less.
Go On Safari!
The answer lies in Safari, Apple’s web browser that runs on all its devices: Macs (of course), iPod Touches, iPhones, and yes – iPads! I discovered this capability of Safari a few months ago, when I wanted to check out the new (at the time) Gmail interface that Google had rolled out for iPhone users. I blogged about the solution, which involves changing the User Agent setting in Safari, on one of my other blogs: Playing on Safari; or, Pretending You Have an iPad or iPhone.
There are other web browsers that will let you control the User Agent setting. I’m pretty sure you can do it in Firefox, by going into About:Config in the location bar, and changing a few settings, and I’m sure other browsers as well. But Safari really makes it easy. You can hit that other article I wrote, above, or just do the following in Safari:
- Enable Developer Mode. Click Edit / Preferences. Enable Developer Mode.
- Hit Develop menu, select User Agent, and select iPad (or iPhone, etc. if you’re interested in checking out how your site looks on those platforms)
- Boom – you’re done!
Side Note: What is the User Agent? It’s basically your browser’s way of telling far-off webservers… “I am Firefox, running on Windows XP.” or “I am Internet Explorer 6, running on Windows 2000, I feel your scorn.” It helps the webserver send you the correct “versions” of the web pages you browse.
Here’s the regular appearance of this blog. (As a long-time web designer, I’m almost ashamed to admit I’m just using one of the free (but simple and attractive, yes) themes available on WordPress.com. I’d like to get in and muck with the CSS, but can’t find the time!)
And loading this blog in Safari, with the User Agent set to “Safari iOS 3.2.2 – iPad”:
You can of course, control some aspects of the iPadification of your WordPress blog using OnSwipe’s plugin. As you may note, I’m not a big user of featured images for my posts. Plus, I’m a “sometimes intermittent” blog poster. That daily post thing this year just really didn’t work out for me.
You can also check out your blog on the iPhone (if you don’t have an iPhone to do the test natively, of course):
I hope you find this useful information. While you’re at it, when in Safari you can check out other websites, like Gmail.com, Yahoo.com, etc. – to see what those sites look like on the iPhone or iPad. As a web developer, I find this very useful in testing new sites, whether they are WordPress-based or not.