Having moved to a new device (the Nokia N8), I am facing the reality that my use of (any) mobile web server might be over. Such a realization isn’t well received on my end, and last night, I spent some time in Tactilis thinking about where I’ve been with this concept of a mobile web server, and what an evolution would look like for me.
My first exposure to the mobile web server idea was through Nokia’s implementation. For me, I saw it as a means to centralize and take more control over the publishing points (blog and photo galleries) that had become the bulk of my work online.
I also gained an ability to manage my mobile from any web browser (great for when working with some clients and you’ve got SMS messages and don’t need to have your mobile out).
In a lot of respects, this aspect of using the mobile web server was device centric. While a publishing point, it was really about “what was the device’s ability to describe my context to others.”
Version 2 of me using the mobile web server is when I moved to using iFMW. Here, I gained some flexibility in terms of the content management (and still chose to do my own single page publishing point), but lost the access to the device items (calendar, SMS, etc.) which would have made for a real upgrade over that initial exploration.
Still, I’ve enjoyed having what amounts to a personal Dropbox on my mobile, in addition to the abilities that I added to my page by pulling together all of my social media and portfolio entities.
This wasn’t using the mobile as a publishing point. I went the other direction. You gain some, you lose some.
As I noted when I started this post, this thinking came about because I am actually not liking my options here. I do have some thoughts which can push me in several directions though.
One thought wonders if there is a way to tap into aspects of mobile device (status, location, etc.) and then publish them to a single page that sits on a server that I own/control. On the device though would be a simple application that basically reads and confirms the existing data (last four pictures, status message to be pushed to Twitter/LinkedIn/etc., and so on). It would only be one page though, and somehow, it would have to be mapped to my personal URL, but bounce to some other property of mine when the device isn’t available.
Another thought says that I should be able to take the httpd that was developed for older versions of Symbian, and simply use that in a compatability mode – forgetting the access to the device from the outside Internet, simply letting the device be available via local area networks only. I don’t like it, nor does it fit.
And then there’s the challenge of authentication and access. I’d love for a web server on a mobile device to play the role of a second layer of security for social networking, banking, and shopping sites. If you will, the device (and therefore unique qualities about the device) holding a secure token for that site. I know that there are companies that want to be this solution, but I think it better if we owned that aspect of things, and our device(s) played a role in this.
Could a mobile app, written in QML/WRT, on the mobile device, publish to social networks, but also receive the pings to an assigned URL? What would someone see when they hit that URL (a redirect to the latest social media or location update, a self-hosted portal page)? Could that work without a server on the mobile publishing anything? Or, if a server is needed, could the mobile also contain the gateway so that the onus on connectivity is completely on the user and not the mobile manufacturer (or carrier)?
Just Some Scribbled Thoughts for Now
I really don’t know what will happen though. My N97 still is able to run iFMW, and I’ll aim to have that running on a LAN that I’ve got consistent access to. But that’s only a temporary solution. Part of the allure of a mobile web server is that its context-revealing. If I’m in a meeting or in your neck of the woods, I’d love for the device to be able to share that information in a secure and relevant manner. That’s kind of my idea for this. I’m just not sure how to close the gap between what I’m thinking and what technically goest into it.
In the meantime, I do need to figure out how I will redirect my primary domain. Can’t have a bro’s name all hanging out in the wind and all 😉