!!! This old hobby project of mine hasn’t been showing any signs of life for a long time now, but you’re still welcome to poke at its lifeless body with a stick if you’d like to. !!!
Mosembro is a proof of concept web browser for the Android mobile platform which demonstrates how semantic markup (in this case microformats) can be used to massively improve the mobile browsing experience.
See it in action!
Watch a screencast which shows off some of Mosembro’s major features: detection of microformats for addresses and events, integrated site-level search and ability to install additional scripts which are then also triggered by detected microformats.
What does it do?
Mosembro scans loaded web pages for microformats and inserts special links into the page, if it detects any. The process is very simple:
Mosembro currently has support for several different features based on microformats.
These features are:
- adding events to Google calendar
- displaying addresses using Android’s built-in maps application
- planning your journey to a given location using public transport (works with addresses in London and SF Bay Area)
- copying addresses to clipboard
- providing a consistent search dialog for searching whole web sites
These features can be accessed in two ways: either by navigating to “Menu > Smart actions” or by clicking one of the “Smart links” which were inserted into the web page by the browser. Smart links are an optional feature and can be enabled or disabled in the “Menu > Settings” dialog.
More features will be available as soon as additional extensions are written.
Note: the microformat used for search functionality is not a standard microformat. It was created by me just for the purpose of this demo.
As far as I know, there is currently no other mobile browser available, which would use microformats to improve the user experience. Hopefully, this demo will get the ball rolling.
How does it compare to Android’s standard browser?
Here’s a quick comparison of how long it takes to display an address on map using different browsers.
|Mosembro (left) vs Android’s standard browser (right)|
With the regular browser you need to manually start the maps application and type in the address.
Mosembro detects microformats embedded in the page and inserts a smart link directly after the address. Clicking this link gives you the same result 7 times faster and without all the hard work!
The current version is Mosembro r7, released on 31. Oct 2009.
This release requires Android 1.5 + Google APIs (or newer)!
Mosembro r6, released on 7. Jun 2009.
Mosembro r5, released on 19. Feb 2009.
Mosembro r4, released on 8. Feb 2009.
Mosembro r3, released on 3. Feb 2009. This was a bugfix release.
Mosembro r2, released on 28. Jan 2009 (Release notes)
Mosembro r1, released on 30. Dec 2008
First of all, you will need the Android emulator, so you can run Android applications. Get it here. After installing it, fire it up by running “emulator” binary which is located in the tools sub directory.
If you already have Mosembro installed, uninstall it first by running:
adb uninstall com.lexandera.mosembro
Mosembro can then be installed by executing the following command:
adb install mosembro-r7.apk
Adb command is also located under the “tools” sub directory of your Android SDK installation. Please see this excellent guide on how to install applications on Android emulator if you experience any problems.
The following features are already in various stages of planning and/or research:
- RDFa support
These are just unexplored ideas:
- Automatic detection of new action scripts which know how to use embedded data
- Merging Mosembro’s source code with the source code of Android’s default browser
Mosembro is open source and available under the GPL licence.
- Introducing Mosembro
- Mosembro status update (14. January 2009)
- Mosembro r2 now available for download (28. January 2009)