About Rotan


  • Dr Rotan Hanrahan MIEEE MACM


  • Web and Mobile technology consultant (RCL)

Notable career roles and activities

  • Chair – W3C Device Descriptions Working Group
  • Steering Council Member – Mobile Web Initiative
  • Committee Member – W3C Advisory Committee
  • Group Participant – W3C Ubiquitous Web Activity
  • Steering Committee Member – IMS ARCS
  • Contributor – OpenAjax (mobile)
  • Invited Expert – JCP
  • Project Committer – Apache
  • Group Participant – WAP Forum UAProf Group
  • Chief Innovations Architect – MobileAware
  • Senior Consultant – Telenor
  • Senior Academic – ITT


  • Making it easy to create Web-oriented solutions for any Web-enabled device.


  • Following years of research and tutoring at UCD (National University, Ireland) in the 80s/90s I accepted a full-time senior lecturing role as part of the green field creation of what later became the Institute of Technology in Tallaght, just outside Dublin city.
  • I subsequently expanded my academic role by taking on the responsibility for the technical infrastructure of the growing national academic network, as institutes around the country were being joined to the Internet.
  • These activities lasted for several wonderful years and in the late 90s I moved to the private sector by joining Telenor as a senior consultant in their R&D operations.
  • From Telenor I teamed up with a few colleagues to set up a company called MobileAware with backing from Intel.
  • At MobileAware I took charge of technical innovation, represented the company in the WAP Forum (now the OMA) for a year and then, seeing the light, convinced the company to join the W3C.
  • I represented MobileAware in the W3C for a decade from 2002.
  • I was a long-term member of the W3C Advisory Committee, the Mobile Web Initiative Steering Council, the Ubiquitous Web Applications Working Group and I chaired the Device Descriptions Working Group to completion and thereafter for a year as a group contact, and authored or co-authored for W3C. I was interviewed by W3C at the height of my participation.
  • In addition, I’ve been involved in the Java Community Process [*], the Apache Group [*] and the OpenAjax Alliance [*].
  • I established my own consultancy operation in 2016 (www.rotan.ie) to advise Irish companies on their Web and mobile innovation strategies, and to provide technical input to their development activities. My wife (also a computer scientist) is co-director.
  • I am the technology advisor to Fido, the largest government-approved animal microchip repository in Ireland.
  • When not driving standards development, I would regularly be found deeply engaged in experimenting and prototyping, and pushing people to be technically adventurous and encouraging innovation. I really enjoy hands-on prototyping.
  • I have a family in Ireland and am permanently attached to this green island (i.e. no hope or intention of moving). That doesn’t prevent me operating on a world stage. In fact, Ireland is a pretty cool place to use as a hub, regardless of recent economic challenges.


  • PhD in computer science, with an emphasis on distributed and massive computing and all the complexities that entails.
  • Many years of experience with networking, including local, wide area and mobile. That includes all of the administrative and planning skills.
  • My work within the W3C enabled me to become one of the world’s most knowledgeable people on mobile Web technologies.
  • Although I’ve been away from academia for many years, I still consider myself an educator and enjoy presenting to enthusiastic audiences, large and small.


  • I’ve lost count of the number of programming languages I can use competently, but I have only mastered one natural language (English). Gaelic is a faded memory, and my French only works (poorly) in reading mode.
  • I remember faces and names, but never at the same time. (Being male might have something to do with it.)
  • Airports, hotels and the whole travel thing. I don’t mind the destinations, but travel can be mind-numbing.


  • I love spicy food, root vegetables in sauces, shredded pork, noodles (preferably egg, but pasta is fine), all kinds of beans, tofu, eggs (in all manner of ways), the humble spud (that’s a potato, cooked any way you can imagine), cheese from around the world, beef steaks, iceberg lettuce and raw onions. Apparently several of those foods don’t like me in return, which I consider to be a gross injustice.
  • I’ve been known to do marathon coding operations. Three days non-stop would be typical but thankfully I have broken that habit.
  • Despite all my travel, I’ve never been south of the equator. The closest I got was Singapore. Twice.
  • Despite working in the mobile space, I don’t particularly like mobile phones. I’m more a mobile data person. To me, talking out in the open just doesn’t feel right, in the car is distracting, and at home is intrusive (business calls, that is). Yet I will allow digital interaction to grab my attention at any time of day, at any location.
  • In my “spare” time since around 2005 I built the technology for Ireland’s most successful government-approved online service for registering and tracking companion animals, and I retain a professional involvement to this day.
  • My name is derived from a mathematical equation in polar coordinate geometry. It’s a long story.

Contacting me

    • For work-related matters, use email: enquiries.AT.rotan.ie. If you have not emailed me before, send me at least a few sentences and don’t include anything that would make your message look like you’re trying to sell me something or my layers of spam filters will remove your message long before it gets anywhere near me. Ask me to reply, so you know I got your message. You can “@” me on Twitter (@_r_h_) or Mastodon (@rotan@mastodon.ie) if you must.

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