For the mobile version of agilitycourses.com I wanted to follow the approach Google appears to be using on some of its sites:

  • If the user views agilitycourses.com from a desktop browser they should see the standard/desktop version of the site.
  • If the user views agilitycourses.com from a mobile browser they should be redirected to a mobile domain (m.agilitycourses.com).
  • The mobile version of the website includes a link to the standard version.
  • If the mobile user chooses the standard website they should "stick" on that site and not be redirected to the mobile site.

I wanted to run two different websites but share templates and have the templates and css change for the mobile site. That meant that I'd need to set a variable(s) in the request to use to generate the appropriate HTML. So I found the simplest mobile device detector minidetector and initially used that. I later found Chris Drackett's fork has a number of useful enhancements and switched to it.

But minidetector didn't provide the ability to redirect to another site. I found Scott Newman's article on using multiple templates which had a section on performing the redirect and storing the user's selection in the session. So I forked Chris' minidetector and modified it to include the redirect and session storage. At the same time I decided to store all the minidetector variables into the session and add them, via middleware, to the request so the raw request wouldn't have to be parsed each time. My fork is available here with details on the new configuration options.

I'm using two domains so I can track analytics for the mobile and non-mobile sites separately and allow users to bookmark the desired site's pages. I use Google Analytics (via django-google-analytics) and Awstats for analytics.

Since I'm using two separate domain and sharing everything else I'm using a setup similar to the one described by Dustin Davis. I have a settings.py file and a mobile_settings.py that only overrides the features I need:

from settings import *
SITE_ID = 2
CACHE_MIDDLEWARE_KEY_PREFIX = "m.ac-"

I use a different memcached key prefix so the cached pages for the mobile site don't clash with those for the desktop site.

I setup m.agilitycourses on my server using the same Gunicorn setup I used for agilitycourses.com with the only changes being specifying the --bind address/port and the name of the mobile settings file:

#!/bin/sh
GUNICORN=/home/user/virtualenvs/myapp/bin/gunicorn_django
ROOT=/home/user/source/myapp
PID=/var/run/myapp.pid
if [ -f $PID ]
    then rm $PID fi
cd $ROOT
exec $GUNICORN --bind 127.0.0.1:8001 -c $ROOT/gunicorn.conf.py --pid=$PID $ROOT/mobile_settings.py

If my templates/content start to diverge more significantly between the mobile and desktop sites I may set the TEMPLATE_DIRS differently in the mobile_settings file. Or I can move to Dustin's approach and create a new application containing the urls.py and views.py specific to my mobile deployment. I would think diverging further would call for a refactoring of the common functionality to its own application which could be imported into separate code branches for each domain.

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