Device detection and review request

We are a web magazine that specializes in Android smartphones. We have recently deployed Discourse and we are thrilled. We even used Discourse to completely replace user accounts and comments in our WordPress.

It would be great for us if Discourse (or its plugin) could detect the specific device model and operating system of visitors.

We’d like to ask them to share their experience with others on a specific topic based on detecting their smartphone type.

There are plenty of open source tools for detecting specific devices

For example:

  • Yauaa (we like this one the best)
  • Modernizr
  • Bowser
  • Detector
  • WURFL.js
  • Platform.js
  • UA-Parser.js
  • FingerprintJS
  • Am I Responsive
  • Device.js
  • Screen Size Map
  • React Device Detect
  • Responsivepx

Could this feature become a new optional feature of Discourse, or could someone program such a useful extension?

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This seems interesting, but the more I think about it the less I know what it would do.

What does this mean exactly? Redirect them to a specific topic that only they can see? Give them a special theme? Unlock a category only for them?

Can’t you ask them to comment on those models without even knowing what device they have?

What about people with multiple devices? Will they see different stuff depending on what browser they are using?

Maybe just have a user custom field asking them what devices they have?

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Searched for related topics there are some old ones:

For this to be developed as a plugin could be marketplace post if you have a budget for that, otherwise this probably wouldn’t be priority for a core feature unless someone wanted to sponsor that.

Not sure if this would be a personal data / gdpr challenge, probably would be.

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Thanks for your reactions and insights.

Our idea of how the system would work is simple. I’ll show an example when I visit Discource with a Google Pixel 8 phone.

  1. in the background of Discourse, a device detection will take place
  2. then Discource sends a request to the user asking if they would be so kind as to share their experience with their Google Pixel 8 phone by submitting a review (the form of the prompt is not yet specified, but it could be just like the “alerts” that Discource already natively has)
  3. If the user chooses not to, the notification will show as read and nothing will happen
  4. if the user selects “yes” it will redirect to a topic in the format: manufacturer - phone name. So in this case, for example: …/t/google/pixel8 where the visitor leaves his review. The structure is just a sample and may be different

The topic will be public and multiple people can post a review in the same topic. Topic will be automatically created by manufacturers and devices, from users who want to add a review.

Regarding GDPR and other personal data, there should be no problem as user agent detection is used for identification and the manufacturer and model of the device users are using is not considered personal data.

I will be happy to contribute or fund the development of a similar plugin, whether it be in core or as a plugin. Does anyone have an idea how much this solution would cost? Or better yet, could someone program it right away?

However, I believe that detecting the device used by the user or one of the other parameters (everyone can do the test themselves on this page will find a beneficial use in the Discourse kernel and would help Discource to be even better.


Doesn’t seem like that’d be very useful information, almost 0 info on my phone:

EDIT: It’s different the second time I visit the site, odd.

I don’t know anything but traditionally user agent has been the most unreliable way to detect anything, and out there is way too wide variety of those.

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Device information is usually automatically reported if someone is logged in with a google account, and there is an option to login with google account to discourse. Don’t know if google would be able to share that information with the discourse app but maybe that is possible, or you could just do a survey for if people want to volunteer that data or decline to share.

This is definitely odd, but it’s probably a feature of this solution. Even on my phone, the first time I visit it, it doesn’t show the model and manufacturer of the device. But on the second visit, or just F5 the page, everything is already OK

I agree, that’s why implementation in Discource core and post-processing could be very useful for many applications.

Google knows 100 times more about our websites and users than it is willing to tell us. So that’s not the way I see it going at all.

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