WAP and WML
What are WAP and WML? If you are not yet involved with
this technology you can be excused for not being familiar with
it. If you are an HTML author or make your living on the
Internet, then now is the time to learn something about WML
and WAP. It will not be long before they are as familiar to
many people as the Internet.
WML stands for Wireless Markup Language and is used to
create the equivalent of a web page on a Wireless Device such
as a Digital Cell Phone. Where WML is basically equivalent
to HTML, WAP, which stands for Wireless Application
Protocol, is roughly equivalent to HTTP or Hypertext Transfer
So what makes this technology so special?
I have seen quite a few references to WAP becoming as big or
bigger than the Internet. I see that as something of an
oxymoron. For me, WAP is a natural extension of the Internet
that will make the World Wide Web available for applications
and technologies in places that it is difficult or impossible to
access using existing Internet technology.
The key to WAP is its portable nature. You don't need a
Keyboard, monitor or cable connection. Simply open your cell
phone and dial into the service you want. A miniature web
page will be displayed on the LCD of your Wireless Device.
Even laptops do not provide this level of convenience.
The highly portable nature of a WAP device is also its biggest
limitation. Unlike a large computer monitor with a fast
Internet connect, a WAP device has a tiny monochrome screen
with a relative slow digital connection. Those big interactive
animated web pages will be impossible to display on a WAP
What will WAP devices be used for?
Well that is were your imagination could make you very rich
if you have the business savvy to put it together. There are
many WAP startup companies raising a lot of capital right
now on little more than their ideas. Applications for WAP
range from Online banking and Investing, Stock tracking, GPS
navigation (where are you and how do you get home?),
shopping, email etc. Maybe someone will actually use them
for making phone calls.
The fact is WAP is currently only at the level of development
that the World Wide Web was seven or eight years ago but it
promises to catch up very fast. Estimates are that WAP use
will increase to 36 million users by 2003.
Where does that leave the HTML author?
With a lot of opportunity. WML is similar to HTML in many
ways and a good HTML author will be able to create the
equivalent of a Web Page without too much trouble. That is
provided WAP's limitations are fully appreciated.
Next week I will discuss authoring with WML and setting up a
WAP page (called a Deck) on your server.
In the mean time, if you are familiar with WAP and WML and
would like to pass along your observations I would like to hear
from you. We also think we could quickly adapt our IMS
WYSIWYG editors to author WML and would appreciate any
"IMS Web Tips" ISSN 1488-7088
© Copyright 1999 Virtual Mechanics
"IMS Web Tips" is a weekly news letter for all web site managers regardless of experience who are looking for detailed information on
creating, maintaining and promoting their web sites.