UKOLN AHDS Accessing Your Web Site On A PDA

About This Document

With the growing popularity in use of mobile devices and pervasive networking on the horizon we can expect to see greater use of PDAs (Personal Digital Assistants) for accessing Web resources.

This document describes a method for accessing a Web site on a PDA. In addition this document highlights issues which may make access on a PDA more difficult.



AvantGo is a well-known Web based service which provides access to Web resources on a PDA such as a Palm or Pocket PC.

The AvantGo service is freely available from <>.

Once you have registered on the service you can provide access to a number of dedicated AvantGo channels. In addition you can use an AvantGo wizard to provide access to any publicly available Web resources on your PDA.

An example of two Web sites showing the interface on a Palm is illustrated.


If you have a PDA you may find it useful to use it to provide access to your Web site, as this will enable you to access resources when you are away from your desktop PC. This may also be useful for your project partners. In addition you may wish to encourage users of your Web site to access it in this way.

Other Benefits

AvantGo uses robot software to access your Web site and process it in a format suitable for viewing on a PDA, which typically has more limited functionality, memory, and viewing area than a desktop PC. The robot software may not process a number of features which may be regarded as standard on desktop browsers, such as frames, JavaScript, cookies, plugins, etc.

The ability to access a simplified version of your Web site can provide a useful mechanism for evaluating the ease with which your Web site can be repurposed and for testing the user interface under non-standard environments.

You should be aware of the following potential problem areas:

Entry Point Not Contained In Project Directory
If the project entry point is not contained in the project's directory, it is likely that the AvantGo robot will attempt to download an entire Web site and not just the project area.
If your Web site contains frames and you do not use the appropriate option to ensure that the full content can be accessed by user agents which do not support frames (such as the AvantGo robot software) resources on your Web site will not be accessible.
Plugin Technologies
If your Web site contains technologies which require plugins (such as Flash, Java, etc.) you will not be able to access the resources.


As well as providing enhanced access to your Web site use of tools such as AvantGo can assist in testing access to your Web site. If your Web site makes use of open standards and follows best practices it is more likely that it will be usable on a PDA and by other specialist devices.

You should note, however, that use of open standards and best practices will not guarantee that a Web site will be accessible on a PDA.