Content Delivery Networks in the Mobile Web era
Everybody likes their Internet fast. Content delivery services (Akamai, Limelight and others) speed up the Web significantly, distributing your media across a global network of caching servers. It's very likely that the end user is closer to an Akamai mirror than to the origin server, so the experience is improved significantly.
Enter the age of mobile web. At Mobify, we believe that every link on the Web should present an amazing mobile experience. One way to do this is by making content management systems mobile-aware. When the CMS detects a mobile user, it launches an alternate rendering path and generates new HTML server-side. This new mobile web page is then presented to the user - for a great example check out WPTouch, the most popular mobile plugin for Wordpress.
The problem is, most content delivery networks don't bother telling the origin server about mobile users, serving whatever is cached for the URL. And why should they? The whole point of CDN cache is reducing the time it takes to access web content. Plus, when not done properly server-side mobile rendering can actually be worse than the desktop website, as this comic illustrates.
In my next post, I'll try to guess why Matt Mullenweg doesn't use WPTouch on his beautiful personal blog and share some of the things we learned about Drupal 8 from Dries' DrupalCon keynote. Stay tuned!