When I first heard of the Nintendo DS Browser, I was skeptical that it would be of any use to me at all. However, I’ve discovered it’s actually a great news and e-mail reader.
When I started using the DS browser, I was unhappy with the performance. Web pages took a long time to download and render, especially ones that had a lot of images. The browser buttons don’t respond all that well when trying to acquire image data and once the CSS kicks in, page layouts can re-render and you might lose your place on the page.
Very few sites employ an alternate stylesheet for handheld devices, so unless you want to view the page in Overview mode (which I don’t like at all – it’s like walking around using binoculars) you end up viewing pages in a compressed, sometimes clunky, layout.
So, how did the DS browser become so indispensable to me? I decided to use it for what it was really good at: Rendering text.
Over the last few years RSS has become a standard element on almost any web site that includes news. Although the DS Browser won’t read an XML feed, a PHP script that consumes an XML feed and turns it into HTML would be perfect – so that’s what I did.
I now have a list of RSS feeds that I read on a fairly regular basis linked to a script that produces DS-ready pages.
Now I use it all the time, mostly just before bed or first thing in the morning, when I am too lazy to go down to the office and read the news on my iMac.
Take a look at my DS Links. The page is simply a list of links to RSS feeds, each of which has been piped through a PHP script that makes the feed easily readable on the DS.
The best part is that the resulting pages (other than the ATOM feeds that include images) render very quickly. If you turn images off, you can easily browse through a lot of feeds in a short time.
If you are interested in making your own links page, let me know and I’ll send you instructions.