Mdbf Project Issues

Apr 16, 2010 at 4:37 PM

I'm just posting this to let any project members know that we will be dropping the mobile device browser file going forward.  I'm not looking for drama and I'm sure that one team's grievances don't matter but I feel that I should make our concerns public in case others feel the same. Since we started using the mdbf file:

  • I may not remember correctly but think that after being announced at Mix, the mdbf file was not actually released for a few months and then was only sporadically updated for a few more months.
  • Later, the file was broken in a different major way every release between (I think) September and January.  Every release fixed one problem and caused another two.  IsMobileDevice was completely broken for the iPhone (one of the only important mobile devices) for a month or two.  Another release, you broke IE8 for at least a month.
  • After the big reorg of the file, it has seemed to at least meet the low bar of not breaking anything that used to work, however, since then the number one requested issue is the issue of xhtml rendering by default, which most people consider to be an unnecessary requirement on your part.  This issue is so prevalent that it comes up as a question in half of the unrelated discussions on the first page of discussions.  Even so, the team has issued that their ruling that they know what's best and will not change this.  So, going forward, I will have to either patch every release of the mdbf or change my code to fix this issue.  It doesn't matter that it's one line of code in the code behind.  That basically defeats the promised benefits of a drop-in .browser file.
  • If that wasn't enough, the latest release fixes no issues and simply adds support for the Microsoft Kin, a device family which at present has no release date.

It is obvious to me at this point that this is a not an open-source project. 

  • There is no serious roadmap, other than an occasional forum post about the next release.
  • There does not seem to be nearly enough testing from release to release. 
  • The team is not listening to community input and is instead doling out fixes handed down from Microsoft marketing. 
  • When the team does fix things, they seem to be big re-architecture tasks (see: New April announcement about rearchitecting something AGAIN) which in the past have left the day-to-day product broken half the time and working against the will of the community the rest of the time

I know you get what you pay for in a free project but this matters to our business.  I cannot guarantee that a continually growing portion of my audience (mobile devices) will have a good experience using a file that has the issues I outlined above.  Returning to our in-house solution might not support as many devices or features but will at least be reliable, predictable and afford us more control.

I hope you take some of these issues into consideration.  Either way, good luck going forward.

Dec 14, 2010 at 6:56 PM


Instead of using MDBF please use It is an ASP.NET open source module  which detects mobile devices and provides auto redirection to mobile optimized pages when request is coming from mobile device. It makes use of WURFL mobile device database. For redirection there is no need to modify existing ASP.NET web application pages.

Have a look its really great and easy to implement.