Chapter 32. WAP and WML

Both mobile devices and the Internet have exploded into widespread use in the past few years, so it stands to reason that the two would be combined. One technology for delivering information to wireless devices (primarily mobile phones, but also pagers and personal digital assistants) is WAP, the Wireless Application Protocol. WAP is a collection of protocols and specifications that work together to give mobile phones access to Internet-like information.

One part of the WAP standard is the Wireless Markup Language (WML), which is used to create wireless applications just as HTML is used to create web pages. WML is an application of XML, meaning that it is defined in a document type definition, or DTD (for more information on XML, see Chapter 30).

The goal of WAP is not to port existing web sites onto mobile phones, because the small screen size and limited bandwidth make that impractical. Rather, it is a system for creating special applications tailored to handheld devices. That is why you often see the phrase “Internet-like information” used in regards to WAP. WAP is good for delivering short, pithy bits of data, such as stock prices, sports scores, movie times, and so on. It is not useful for the complex documents with visual layouts that have made the World Wide Web what it is today.

Many traditional web designers feel pressure to keep up with the Web as it extends into the world of wireless devices. The truth is that unless you make a career shift into ...

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