Chapter 23. Wireless Surfing with WAP and WML

Dan Brian

Mobility! In my day we had to pick up the phone and put it on the acoustic modem. Now you can get stuff any time, anywhere. These kids…

I bought a new mobile phone with wireless Internet not long ago. The prospect of tracking news headlines, stock prices, and checking email over the phone seemed appealing. But after only a few minutes of browsing, I felt disappointed. Navigation was cumbersome, the viewscreen very small, and most frustrating of all, it took a really long time to get all the information I wanted. I read a bit more about the various portals that consolidate data from various sources, but after using one of them, I realized that no existing service would give me the variety of content I wanted. Besides, I’ve never much liked the idea of my username, passwords, and messages passing through someone else’s servers. And this was about the same time I read the fine print on my service contract, explaining that I was paying for talk-time whenever I used my wireless Internet access.

In this article, I’ll explore application development for wireless devices, first providing an overview of the WAP (Wireless Application Protocol) architecture, and then introducing some Perl modules to help create WAP applications.

A Quick Look at WAP

Wireless web browsers are the embodiment of a dominant trend in modern information technology. This trend is to equate “client” with “accessor,” and “server” with “provider”. While that definition ...

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