Creating WAP Applications

Before diving into the specifics of the WML specification, let’s look at some of the general issues and processes of creating WAP content:

A New Model

If you are accustomed to designing pages for the Web, you will need to adjust (and reduce) your thinking for handheld devices. Due to the limitations in screen size, processing power, and connection speed, normal information-rich web pages are not feasible. In fact, it is useful to abandon the notion of “documents” (information that is displayed and read) and think in terms of “applications” (based on choices and user interaction). WAP applications are typically made up of screenfuls of minimal text and lists of options. Information and interaction design is king as there is virtually no graphic design to be done.

Another difference is that unlike the Web, where it is desirable to entice a visitor to linger at your site as long as possible, a successful WAP application can be measured by how quickly the user can find information or make a transaction and get out.

WAP Browsers

Mobile devices use special browsing software, sometimes referred to as “microbrowsers” due to their size and capacity, to request and display information from a network. As on the Web, not all WAP browsers are created equal. Older devices with outdated browsers are still in circulation, and what works on one device may not work on another at all.

Add to that the fact that the WML specification allows for a range of interpretations of ...

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