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Last modified: January 06, 2001
Multi-Channel Access XML (MAXML)

[January 05, 2001] Curious Networks is developing 'Multi-Channel Access XML (MAXML)' as an XML application which "fully supports HTML, XHTML, XML, WAP (HDML and WML), Palm PQAs, VoiceXML and Java and will support new channels as they emerge." From the web site description: MAXML is "an XML-based definition language that enables a developer to create one application definition and have it instantly accessible. MAXML is designed specifically for the growing need to deploy applications on not just one, but many access channels simultaneously. By utilizing MAXML, [Curious Networks'] Continuum delivers powerful and efficient wired and wireless solutions through a single development effort. The Foundation of MAXML is Interaction Oriented Development. MAXML defines both the integration into backend systems and how users will interact with data in these backend systems -- independent of the access device. Curious Networks designed MAXML using a fundamentally different approach to application development. Unlike traditional development processes based on defining presentation, MAXML is founded on how users interact with information. Developers define their applications within MAXML in terms of interactions users will have with the applications. Curious Networks has defined these interactions through extensive research and usability tests on how people want information organized and presented as well as how they interact with it. Through its research, Curious Networks created a Human-Information Interaction Model that explains the relationship between data and how users interact with that data. This model defines standard ways users interact with information, regardless of the technology being used. MAXML allows developers to define their existing applications in terms of the Human-Information Interaction Model. This unique approach allows developers to focus on defining the types of interactions within MAXML, not the complexities of specific devices. This approach, called Interaction Oriented Development, produces a markup with significant advantages. (1) Complete Support: Developers can take advantage of the latest technologies without having to worry about learning or keeping up with the evolution of the specific markup languages associated with various devices. (2) Write Once: The power of MAXML is that the code for interactions remains the same, regardless of the access channel used. In other words, MAXML allows developers to define an application, and the interactions that comprise it, once and Continuum presents each interaction appropriately on each device. By creating a layer of abstraction between the presentation layer and the underlying data, the developer is removed from the complexities of the various channels. Defining the application once in MAXML results in significantly reduced time-to-market and development costs. (3) A Markup for the Future: By focusing on the interactions, MAXML can be accessed on new devices with no change to the MAXML, enabling companies to immediately benefit from emerging technologies."

An application in MAXML "is a collection of activities or services a customer wants translated and made viewable across channels; it is an online environment that serves a particular purpose to the user. An example of an application might be a personal portal that allows a user to check all of his or her daily information, or a wedding registry service with gift registration capabilities. The application is the top level environment in which the Curious Networks system runs. Some examples of basic components that comprise an application are page views, portlets, static pages, servlets, and a supporting environment, such as web servers and application servers... A portlet is a specific service inside an application; each activity in an application will generally be associated with its own portlet. A personal portal might contain a portlet to fetch horoscopes, one to view news headlines, one for stocks, and so on." The MAXML Workshop has initial support for SOAP through the IBM/Apache v2.0 implementation. The MAXML Tag Reference is supplied in the MAXML Developer's Guide.


  • Curious Networks

  • MAXML Description

  • Curious Networks Workshop - A developer's site "that allows you to build, test, and publish your own MAXML applications. The Workshop was created to allow free evaluation of Continuum's tools. Developers can independently discover the value Curious Networks' Continuum can bring to their organization. Resources include: (1) A workbench for creating and publishing MAXML definitions; (2) Access to newsgroups for MAXML developers; (3) Documentation on how to build and test your own multi-channel applications."

  • [January 06, 2001] "Mobile to the Max. The MAXML Standard Works with Virtually Any Type of Device." By Ruhan Memishi. In M-Commerce World [IW] (January 01, 2001), page 59. The author describes MAXML, which offers a device-oriented take on XML.

  • MAXML FAQ document

  • "MAXML." In November 2000, "Curious Networks premiered MAXML, an XML-based language that allows developers to write code for both wireless and wired Internet access devices simultaneously. It supports PDAs, pagers, WAP phones, interactive TV, and standard phones that use voice recognition..."

  • [November 15, 2000] "Curious Networks Introduces New Markup Language For Mobile Industry. MAXML enables one development effort for applications on multiple internet access devices." - "Curious Networks today turns up the power on multi-channel applications development with the introduction of MAXML (multi-channel access XML), the first language designed specifically for the development of multi-channel applications. This patent-pending, XML-based language helps take the time and difficulty out of writing code for wireless and non-wireless Internet access devices. Using MAXML, developers no longer have to write separate code for each device. They simply write in MAXML once and the application is instantly accessible across all devices-regardless of the varying standards. Through focus groups and product testing, Curious Networks found that developers face many challenges programming in the new wireless landscape. In fact, until today, moving into the wireless space has been tedious and time consuming for programmers. With a variety of mobile and alternative access devices, and unique standards and presentations associated with each, developers had to painstakingly code an application for each device, which required them to learn numerous current and emerging markup languages such as WML, HDML, Voice XML, WAP and Palm's PQA. Now with a single development effort, programmers can specify and write code once in MAXML, enabling them to deploy that application across all devices, including PDAs, text pagers, WAP phones, interactive TV, and standard phones using voice recognition. Without any alteration to the existing MAXML, developers can support additional devices as they emerge, eliminating the concern over ever-changing standards and technologies. Because MAXML uses fewer lines of code, developers also save valuable time. 'As more businesses go mobile, MAXML is going to be very important,' says Dwight Taylor, Webmaster consultant and developer, who participated in Curious Networks' focus groups and product testing. 'Most major corporations do not have WAP-enabled or voice-XML-enabled applications. They are strictly using HTML. They don't have applications that can go across devices, so there is definitely a benefit there with MAXML. It's a language developers will soon be looking to use.' 'Businesses also save time and money through the use of MAXML because they no longer have to worry about recruiting and retraining developers on codes that may soon be obsolete. With only one development effort necessary for multi-channel access, businesses can ensure rapid deployment of applications. A scalable, future-proof solution, MAXML offers businesses a quick and efficient way to move into the mobile arena without lengthy development efforts. 'Companies are spending millions to ramp up on current standards that may not last. Curious Networks provides a robust solution that eliminates the risks associated with deploying mobile applications,' says Francesca Mabarak, senior analyst with the Wireless Mobile Technologies division at Yankee Group. Unlike traditional development processes based on presentation, MAXML is founded on a human-information interaction model that explains the relationships between data and how users interact with that data. 'MAXML is the cornerstone of an entirely new way of developing applications,' says David Cutler, CEO of Curious Networks. 'No longer do companies have to build applications that work only on a single device or platform. Now, they are able to create and deploy into-the-future applications that can be accessed on multiple devices ranging from wireless phones to interactive television. MAXML is the first language to make this possible.' Availability: The beta version of MAXML and Curious Networks' flagship product, Continuum, will be available on the Web at Curious Networks Workshop will, for the first time, let interested individuals explore and evaluate the inner-workings of true multi-channel development, allowing developers to build and deploy their own test applications using MAXML. Curious Networks' enterprise version of Continuum is currently in beta testing with select customers and will be commercially available in early first quarter 2001."

  • [November 28, 2000] "Curious Networks Launches Web-Based Mobile Application Development Workshop. Online Site Enables Developers to Build, Test and Publish Applications Created with First Multi-Channel Markup Language." - "Developers can now breathe a collective sigh of relief because life as they know it just got a little easier thanks to the launch of Curious Networks' online application development Workshop at For the first time, novices and experts alike can explore and test Curious Networks' patent-pending markup language, MAXML -- the power behind next-generation applications. Workshop is the first free multi-channel online environment where application developers can quickly and easily build, evaluate and publish applications for multiple devices through a single development effort. By creating applications in Workshop, visitors get a preview of Curious Networks' flagship product, Continuum, scheduled for release in early 2001, and first-hand experience working with an evaluation version of the company's innovative markup language, MAXML (Multi-Channel Access XML). Workshop contains all the tools needed to quickly and easily publish mobile, as well as wired applications without having to download any software. To help get developers started, the site features a thorough guide on MAXML, tutorials, sample MAXML applications, a syntax checker and a publishing environment. In addition, newsgroups and message boards provide developers with help and feedback, and allows them to share their innovative MAXML applications with others. 'Technology is changing so fast, it's hard to keep up with it,' says Vera L. Smith, independent software developer and consultant. 'It's not that easy for developers to find tutorials on new standards. The Workshop eliminates the need to learn other markup languages for various channels because MAXML's run-time converts the code to the appropriate languages.' Until today, developers had to painstakingly code applications for each access channel using the standards associated with each particular device, requiring them to learn numerous mark-up languages such as WML, HDML, VoiceXML, XHTML and Palm's PQA. Because of the unique way MAXML allows developers to define an application's functionality, programmers only need to write code once, enabling them to deploy the application across all current and future devices, including PDAs, text pagers, WAP phones, interactive TV and standard phones using voice recognition. 'Realizing existing technologies did not meet the needs for multi-channel development, we created MAXML, the first language with an interaction-centered approach,' says David Cutler, CEO of Curious Networks. 'Through Workshop, we are able to present MAXML to the public, allowing everyone the opportunity to experience the power of a true 'write once' multi-channel access platform.' Unlike traditional markup languages based on presentation, MAXML is founded on human interaction models that interpret how the application data should be presented on each device. Because developers define specific interactions independent of presentation standards, MAXML requires fewer lines of code, saving valuable time and headaches when testing and debugging applications. The first phase of the Workshop will support the Web, WAP phones and voice portals. Curious Networks' platform is compatible with all industry standards from HTML and XML to WML and VoiceXML. Using MAXML, a breakthrough multi-channel markup language based on interaction-oriented development, the Curious Networks Continuum product delivers unparalleled usability, protection from costly future development, and complete scalability."

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