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Why should you have to build two separate versions of your website to satisfy mobile users?

EPiServer (news, site) answers this question simply by saying: You don't. With the availability of MobilePack -- an add-on for EPiServer CMS 6 R2 -- EPiServer enables its customers to republish already managed content into the mobile channel.

What is MobilePack?

With the release of EPiServer CMS 6 R2 earlier in the spring, EPiServer debuted its version of personalization -- "the ability to define groups of online visitors and dynamically customize their web experience."

MobilePack is a free, open source set of templates that allows EPiServer customers to create a mobile version of their site using existing content. Content administrators create a "child" publication under the primary "parent" site and then create mobile-specific pages using the content already in the repository.

While MobilePack must be added to existing installations of EPiServer CMS 6 R2, the add-on will be part of the standard installation with future versions of the platform.

Features, Functionality

MobilePack from EPiServer

MobilePack from EPiServer

Leveraging HTML5 and the jQuery Mobile framework, MobilePack includes the following features:

  • MobilePack Mobile Site: The foundational template including the theme, start page, footer menu, and other evergreen elements of your mobile web application
  • MobilePack Standard Page: The default mobile page supporting a main body, an XForm, a MobilePack Dynamic Content control, or the ability to "Fetch Data from Other Page in EPiServer CMS"
  • MobilePack Site Connect: Exposes (in a good way) any part of your existing EPiServer web site to your mobile site
  • Image Resizing: Any images in your content that are wider than the display of the viewing device (iPhone, Android, iPad) are rescaled to fit the viewing device
  • MobilePack ListView: A Dynamic Content control that provides a mobile-friendly menu of all child pages
  • MobilePack PhoneButton: A Dynamic Content control that provides a shortcut button to let users dial phone numbers embedded in your content
  • Preview: Perhaps the killer feature of MobilePack, users in Edit Mode can preview the mobile version of the site in several device emulations
  • Browser Criterion and Visitor Group Redirection Rules: Old-school web developers will recognize this as browser detection, meaning that MobilePack detects visitors from mobile devices and presents the appropriate version of the web site

Preview Mobile Content by Device

Preview Mobile Content by Device

And there are more features planned for future releases, including:

  • Google Maps Page Type
  • Collapsible Content control
  • Support for EPiServer Composer
  • Detecting mobile location
  • Setup icons for the app on the mobile device
  • Preloading and caching of the entire app for offline usage

Final Thoughts

If you are already using EPiServer CMS 6 R2, it's time to install MobilePack and start prototyping a mobile version of your site. You may discover that you do not need those native mobile apps after all.

If you are in the market for a web content management system, the ability to quickly get into the mobile channel is compelling and should put EPiServer on your shortlist.

Do us a favor -- if you are using EPiServer, install MobilePack and test it out. Then, come back and leave us a comment describing your experience. The community would love to hear what you think.