browscap.ini - Is it dead?

Probably not, but the site that thousands of mobile detecting software programs point to is dead. GaryK, the developer who has nurtured the project for many years, has had enough. Now the site that the PhP manual points at to get the function 'get_browser' to work, is no longer there. As programmers scramble to figure out what to replace it with or how to put a band-aid on it until it gets resolved there is the shadow of vultures hoovering overhead.

GaryK has been a devoted contributor to GitHb and other code repositories. He has tirelessly keep the browscap.ini up-to-date with little or no help since 1998. Countless programmers owe him a dept of gratitude for delivering the goods when no one else would. Several programming languages have hooks into his current data file of browscap.ini.

Browscap.ini is a data file that holds the information on all mobile devices out there and their capabilities. It is a standard for detecting mobile devices so web content can be tailored to their unique displays and functions. It is a daunting task to keep this file current given the continually growing numbers of mobile devices. Each of these devices have different browsers, different scripting capabilities, and a long list of other functions that have to be considered when feeding content to them.

This event will cause some major issues and possible disruption of some mobile device content delivery. For some sites the data may be current but the next time that http request goes out for updates it will not find anyone home. Programmers can, of course, put their own browscap.ini together and keep it current but until now; why would you?

Hopefully there will be some lessons learned here. One of those lessons should be to appreciate the work others have done and are doing for the sole benefit of the love of programming and helping others.

GaryK(Gary Keith) has taken down his GitHub page and other related pages but a Google Groups discussion can still be found as of 11/4/2012.


by Jim Atkins 'thedosmann'

Memphis Web Programming