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Last modified: November 19, 2002
WAP Wireless Markup Language Specification (WML)

The Open Mobile Alliance Ltd. was established in June 2002 by the consolidation of the WAP Forum and the Open Mobile Architecture Initiative.

[Description August 2001] "Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) is a result of continuous work to define an industry wide standard for developing applications over wireless communication networks. The WAP Forum, originally founded by Ericsson, Motorola, Nokia, and Unwired PlanetWML was formed to create the global wireless protocol specification that works across differing wireless network technology types, for adoption by appropriate industry standards bodies. WML (Wireless Markup Language) is a markup language based on XML, and is intended for use in specifying content and user interface for narrowband devices, including cellular phones and pagers. WML is designed with the constraints of small narrowband devices in mind. These constraints include: 1) Small display and limited user input facilities; 2) Narrowband network connection; 3) Limited memory and computational resources. WML includes four major functional areas: 1) Text presentation and layout - WML includes text and image support, including a variety of formatting and layout commands; 2) Deck/card organisational metaphor - all information in WML is organised into a collection of cards and decks; 3) Inter-card navigation and linking - WML includes support for explicitly managing the navigation between cards and decks; 4) String parameterization and state management - all WML decks can be parameterised, using a state model."

"Several documents specify WAE: (1) Wireless Application Environment Specification [WAE]: The Wireless Application Environment specification is the root document in the WAE normative document hierarchy. The document specifies and references core WAE elements. (2) Wireless Markup Language Specification [WML] The Wireless Markup Language specification describes the mark-up language, WML, including its semantics, its [XML] document type definition (DTD) and its encoding extensions. (3) WAP Binary XML Format Specification [WBXML]: The WAP Binary XML Forum specification describes the XML document encoding and transfer framework used by WAE. (4) WMLScript Specification [WMLScript]: The WMLScript specification describes the scripting language, WMLScript, including its lexical and syntactic grammar, its transfer format and a reference bytecode interpreter. (5) WMLScript Standard Libraries Specification [WAEStdLib]: The WMLScript Standard Libraries specification describes standard libraries available to WMLScript programs including a language library, a string library, a dialog library, a floating-point library, a browser library and a URL library. (6) Wireless Telephony Application Specification [WTA]: The Wireless Telephony Application Specification specifies the technologies included in the Wireless Telephony Application reference architecture. (7) Wireless Telephony Application Interface [WTAI] The Wireless Telephony Application Interface specification describes standard telephony-specific extensions to WAE including WML and WMLScript interfaces to such items as call control features, address book and phonebook services."

[August 01, 2001]   WAP Forum Releases Public Review Specifications for Wireless Application Protocol Version 2.0.    The WAP Forum has announced the availability of WAP 2.0 for public review. "This next generation of the WAP specification helps content developers deliver a richer and more secure experience to mobile Internet service subscribers. WAP 2.0 is a significant evolutionary step in the worldwide standard and will allow application developers to create compelling mobile content using the same tools and techniques they are already familiar with using for other Internet applications. As WAP continues convergence with Internet specifications, WAP 2.0 builds upon the latest Internet standards: XHTML, TCP/IP, HyperText Transfer Protocol (HTTP/1.1), and Transport Layer Security (TLS). Utilizing standards developed by the W3C, WAP adopts XHTML and CSS Mobile Profile as part of WML 2.0 (while maintaining backwards compatibility with WML 1.x), to reduce the time necessary to create and test applications and manipulate content for various devices. At the protocol level WAP 2.0 adopts IETF specifications Supporting XHTML, WAP 2.0 reduces development costs, allowing developers to write applications for both PC and WAP clients, using a common subset of language elements and development tools. XHTML's modular architecture also enables developers to quickly and easily build applications that can adapt to changes in the hardware environment. WAP 2.0 also gives developers the ability to create applications utilizing enhanced style features. Through the use of Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), developers can separate style attributes for one or more XML documents from the actual code, reducing the size of the markup code in browser memory." [Full context]

[November 03, 1998] A paper outlining potential areas of cooperation between the WAP Forum [Wireless Application Protocol] and the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is presented in a W3C NOTE, "WAP Forum - W3C Cooperation White Paper." References: NOTE-WAP-19981030, W3C Note 30 October 1998. The editors are Johan Hjelm (W3C / Ericsson), Bruce Martin (WAP Forum / Unwired Planet), and Peter King (WAP Forum / Unwired Planet).

On XML (Instant) Messaging, see [1] Common Profile for Instant Messaging (CPIM); [2] Jabber XML Protocol; [3] WAP Wireless Markup Language Specification; [4] MessageML; [5] XML Messaging Specification (XMSG); [6] Wireless Village Initiative.


  • Open Mobile Alliance

  • OMA technical specifications

  • Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) Forum Home Page

  • WAP 2.0 DTDs. From the Specification Listing: DTDs associated with WAP 2.0. A Document Type Definition (DTD) is a formal description in XML declaration syntax of a particular type of document. It sets out what names are to be used for the different types of element, where they may occur, and how they all fit together. The following DTDs are associated with WAP 2.0: WML 2.0 DTD available as a flat version (with all modules included), or as a zip file with the modules included separately. Modules: (1) PAP (Push Access Protocol) DTD; (2) Push Service Indication DTD; (3) Push Service Loading DTD; (4) Provisioning DTD. [2.0 DTDs, cache]

  • [August 01, 2001] Wireless Markup Language (WML). Version 2.0. Proposed Version 26-June-2001. Wireless Application Protocol, WAP-238-WML-20010626-p. 72 pages. "Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) is a result of continuous work to define an industry-wide specification for developing applications that operate over wireless communication networks. The scope for the WAP Forum is to define a set of specifications to be used by service applications. The wireless market is growing very quickly and reaching new customers and services. To enable operators and manufacturers to meet the challenges in advanced services, differentiation, and fast/flexible service creation, WAP defines a set of protocols in transport, session, and application layers. This specification defines the Wireless Markup Language (WML) Version 2. This specification refers to version 2 of WML as WML2. WML2 is a language which extends the syntax and semantics of XHTML Basic and CSS Mobile Profile with the unique semantics of WML1, optimised for specifying presentation and user interaction on limited capability devices such as mobile phones and other wireless mobile terminals. XHTML is the reformulation of HTML 4.0 as an application of XML. XHTML Basic is a subset of XHTML 1.1 that includes the minimal set of modules required to be an XHTML Family document type, and in addition it includes images, forms, and basic tables. It is designed for Web clients that do not support the full set of XHTML features, for example, web clients such as mobile phones, PDAs, pagers, and set-top boxes. The document type definition is implemented using XHTML modules as defined in [W3C Spec XHTMLMod]. A pure XHTML Basic document is a valid WML2 document..." See the announcement for WAP Version 2.0. [cache]

  • [August 01, 2001] "Ericsson, Nokia and Motorola Welcome Evolution of WAP Standard. New WAP 2.0 Protocol Based On Widely Accepted Internet Standards Will Further Advance Mobile Services." - "Ericsson, Nokia, and Motorola today announce their support of the newest version of the Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) standard, WAP 2.0, as developed by the WAP Forum. The companies also express their intention to develop products, content, and services based on the new standard. The new generation of the WAP specification together with improved handsets and other wireless devices ensure a much better development environment for advanced mobile services. Based on well-established Internet standards including TCP and HTTP as well as the necessary components specifically adapted for wireless environments, WAP 2.0 will provide a simple, yet powerful tool-kit for easy development and deployment of a multitude of useful and exciting new services. WAP 2.0 has adopted XHTML Basic as the base for its mark-up language. XHTML, developed by the World-Wide Web Consortium (W3C), is the language that will be used to create all content, regardless of whether it is intended for the fixed Internet or the mobile phone world. By narrowing the gap between wired and wireless content, XHTML greatly accelerates the pace at which services can be created and improves the usability of wireless services for consumers. Other Internet standards that have been adopted in WAP 2.0 include Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), Transport Layer Security (TLS), HTTP and TCP. By specifying how these standards are best used in a wireless environment a better user-experience is achieved. The richer content and multimedia services that will be available in 2.5G/3G networks are going to be based on these and similar standards and will therefore integrate seamlessly with WAP technology. The release of WAP 2.0 includes the first release of Multimedia Messaging Services (MMS), a service developed jointly together with 3GPP, which allows users to send multimedia messages, combining sounds with images and text, to each other in a fashion similar to sending SMS. Additionally, WAP 2.0 further evolves WAP Push, which can be used for services such as online auctions, where it is important for users to receive information at the point of interest (i.e., the moment something interesting happens), rather than being forced to actively look for the information..." See also the announcement for WAP Version 2.0

  • WML 1.1 Document Type Definition (DTD); [cache version 2000-03-28]

  • About the WAP Forum

  • WAP Founding Members

  • [May 06, 1999] WAP.NET Web site Contact: Marcel van der Heyden

  • WAP FAQ document - from WAP.NET

  • Ericsson WAP Developer's Zone

  • Nokia's WAP Resources

  • "Mobile Computing." - Resources Page from PIRA.

  • WAP Resources - Wireless Developer Network

  • Links from WebReference

  • "The Wireless Markup Language (WML)." - Introduction/Tutorial to WML

  • [April 27, 2001]    See: Telecom Companies and IEEE-ISTO Support 'Wireless Village' for Mobile Instant Messaging and Presence Services.    An announcement from Ericsson, Motorola, and Nokia describes a new 'Wireless Village' project said to be based upon XML technology. The Mobile Instant Messaging and Presence (IMPS) initiative is designed "to define and promote a set of universal specifications for mobile instant messaging and presence services and create a community of supporters. The specifications will be used for exchanging messages and presence information between mobile devices, mobile services and Internet-based instant messaging services. The protocol will be optimized for the requirements of mobile devices and wireless networks. The Wireless Village initiative is open to participation from industry supporters interested in providing early comments on and building interoperable implementations of these specifications. The IEEE Industry Standards and Technology Organization (IEEE-ISTO) provides day-to-day administrative support to the Wireless Village initiative... The Wireless Village initiative will deliver an architectural specification, protocol specifications, as well as test specifications and tools for mobile IMPS. The initiative will also define procedures and tools for testing conformance and interoperability of mobile instant messaging and presence services. The instant messaging specification will be based on prevalent bearer protocols and other well-adapted standards, such as SMS (Short Messaging Services), MMS (Multimedia Messaging Services), WAP (Wireless Application Protocol), SIP (Session Initiation Protocol), and XML (Extensible Markup Language). This service will include security capabilities for user authentication, secure message transfer and access control. Operators will find these specifications applicable to both existing 2G, new 2.5G (e.g., GPRS), as well as emerging 3G wireless network technologies." [Full context]

  • [March 16, 2001] "XML and WAP." By John Evdemon (Chief Architect, XML Solutions). January, 2001. A presentation given to the Washington Area SGML/XML Users Group. 54 slides, PDF format. "Basic Definitions: [Wireless Application Protocol (WAP), eXtensible Markup Language (XML), Wireless Markup Language (WML)]; WAP's Differentiators: [Bluetooth, DoCoMo i-mode; Combining XML with a wireless protocol standard]; The Trouble with WAP; The Wireless Future. What is WAP? WAP is a technology based on Internet technologies for use by digital phones WAP is backed by major vendors: Nokia, Ericsson, Motorola, Microsoft, IBM. WAP Forum is open for all: Over three hundred companies have joined the WAP Forum. WAP supports several wireless systems: GSM, IS-136, CDMA, PDC etc. WAP has a layered architecture: The same application can be used via several systems. WAP 2.0: Next generation of WAP will include XHTML (with backwards compatibility to WML); TCP support; Color graphics; Animation; Large file downloading; Location-smart services; Streaming media; Data synchronization with desktop PIM. Specs are being built in anticipation of Network evolution and Handheld evolution..."

  • [February 07, 2001] "XML Meets 'IVR With An LCD'. Will WAP and VoiceXML partner up?" By Robert Richardson. In Computer Telephony Volume 9, Issue 2 (February 2001), pages 92-97. [Feature article on two disjoint paradigms for phone-based m-commerce.'] "Wireless may be the future, but we can't help but notice that when it comes to convergence, wireless is mostly clueless... Converged wireless is coming, no doubt, whenever 3G (that is, fast-data-enabled) wireless comes. Or at least it'll look converged - it's still an open question whether digital voice will ever wind up in the same sorts of packets as data when both are beamed out to handsets. In any case, you'll be able to talk via your Bluetooth headset while scrolling through your daily appointments on the handset... The problem in a nutshell: If we have a device that allows more than one mode of interface, it stands to reason that we ought to be able to use the input modes interchangeably. Or, as a minimum, the underlying protocols enabling those interfaces ought to make it possible for developers to support multi-modal interfaces by explicitly hand-coding options for different kinds of input and output into the same application (see diagram). Right now, the two protocols figuring most visibly in the wireless arena -- WAP and VoiceXML -- don't provide hooks to each other. Still, that's likely to change, and it's a good thing, too, because multi-modal seems like a nearly no-brainer way to make mobile applications a lot more appealing to mobile consumers. In this article, we take a look both at what WAP and VoiceXML don't do right now, how they're likely to learn how to live happily with each other, and at how at least one savvy vendor is already working to deliver some pretty sexy near-convergence scenarios... Why is it that WAP can't handle phone calls better, given that it's whole raison d'etre is to make a cell phone more usable? The most obvious answer is that it's a young standard, still in transition (an obvious fact that plenty of critics have been far too quick to overlook when dishing out anti-WAP broadsides). As things stand, WAP conveys its 'web pages' to mobile handsets using WML (wireless markup language)... the current rendition of WAP knows how to do with regard to voice calls is to initiate them. A user can make a menu selection from a WML page (or card, in WAP parlance) and a special, built-in telephony interface (on a WML card, access to this interface is simply via a URL that begins with 'wtai://' rather than 'html://') drops the current WAP phone call and dials up the new number... VoiceXML, too, shares some of the same 'early-days' shortcomings of WAP. In some respects, VoiceXML is slightly better prepared for a multi-modal world. For one thing, VoiceXML supports a tag that will initiate a call and provide rudimentary monitoring of call progress. Unlike WAP, this kind of call can be initiated either as a bridged or a blind transfer. If blind, it's no different than the WAP call to a voice number. If bridged, however, the new phone line is conferenced into the existing call. A bridge transfer assumes that the call will terminate within a preset time limit and that control will transfer back to the current VoiceXML page (and, in fact, voice options from that page are still in operation within the call). The VoiceXML server never hangs up, so the context of the call isn't lost. The fly in this ointment is that a bridged call, by virtue of the fact that the call that's already in progress is a voice call, can't handle data packets. So you won't be updating your WAP deck with a bridged call... the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has taken at least two steps that are sure to have an impact on future multi-modality. First, the group officially adopted XHTML Basic as a W3C recommendation. This puts the specification on track for IETF adoption and general use across the Internet. A key feature of XHTML Basic is its cross-device usability. It's designed to work on cell phones, PDAs, pagers, and WebTV, in addition to the traditional PC-with-a-VGA-screen. Second, the W3C's working group held a session in conjunction with the WAP Forum at a recent meeting in Hong Kong to discuss precisely the problem of making WAP and VoiceXML aware of each other. The upshot was a decision to form a multi-modal working group. Interested parties presenting at the Hong Kong workshop included Nuance, Philips, NTT DoCoMo, IBM, NEC, PipeBeach, and OpenWave. The WAP Forum, a technical consortium representing manufacturers and service providers for over 95% of the handsets in the global wireless market, is already taking steps toward interoperability with other XML-based protocols..."

  • [November 06, 2000] "Waiting on WAP." By Ray Valdés. In WebTechniques (November, 2000), pages 84-87. ['Ray Valdés debunks the false promise of first-mover advantage.'] "WAP features a bunch of design oddities. The WAP protocols try to limit memory consumption on the WAP device by using techniques such as tokenized byte streams, but then burden the WAP device with a proprietary variant of JavaScript. The WTLS security component is tasked with TCP-style segment reassembly. The WTP transport component adds end-user confirmation into data acknowledgement; it also adds a mechanism that resembles RPC-style message invocation/result. The WSP protocol adds state dependency across requests (compared with the stateless HTTP protocol). Some have dismissed these criticisms as "whining" on the part of Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) veterans who are needlessly nitpicking. Nevertheless, there certainly are some aspects to WAP that fall into the what-were-they-thinking category. For example, every WAP phone has its own limit on the amount of WML it will accept (the Nokia 7110 limits a deck to 1397 bytes). However, this size limit applies not to the source text (the WML file on the originating HTTP server), but to the tokenized byte stream sent by the WAP gateway (which is pretty much opaque to the originator of the WML source). Different gateways will produce different results. This variation, combined with variations on WAP devices, ungraceful error recovery, and lack of error messages, will make site designers long for the days when all they had to worry about was cross-browser compatibility. Also, WAP's initial design goal was to enable phone users to browse Internet sites -- in other words, undirected surfing, as opposed to task-oriented services or contextual m-commerce. If you've used these small-screen devices, you'll find the goal seems worthy but impractical. This set of problems can be called the user-experience issue. With the current generation of WAP devices, using a WAP phone to accomplish a common task like making a restaurant reservation is so slow and cumbersome it seems absurd to think that any user would go through the hassle more than once, especially if they realize they can use the phone already in hand to simply call the restaurant and speak with the maitre d'. Creating an effective design that conveys useful information in a minimal device is harder than doing it for an unconstrained device. Even harder is writing a program that will automatically convert or distill information from a traditional rich design on a full-size Web page over to a sparse rendering that's useful on a WAP device. Those optimists who think that XML and XSL can resolve this issue may be in for a shock. Lastly, there's another surprise: The sticker shock really hits you when the first mobile phone bill arrives. Joel Spolsky notes that, when a user's location results in a bad cell phone connection, the phone may end up disconnecting and reconnecting several times in the course of a minute. The user may be billed for the same minute more than once because the phone company rounds each call up to the full minute..."

  • [September 07, 2000] "Why WAP May Never Get off the Ground. [Binary Critic.]" By Ted Lewis (DaimlerChrysler Research & Technology). In IEEE Computer Volume 33, Number 8 (August 2000), pages 110-112. "WAP isn't making it as a standard. More hype than reality, it is already nearly dead. . .On the surface, WAP seems perfect. Based on XML, HTTP 1.1, and many other emerging Internet formats, it avoids the trap of trying to force a new infrastructure standard. Instead, it allows any kind of lower-level protocol to deliver its content. For example, providers can choose among SMS, CDMA (3G), and other network layer protocols. To its credit, the WAP protocol stack is very open, as Table 1 shows. Further, you can implement WAP easily. A WAP gateway to a standard HTTP 1.1 server is all you need to make WAP work with existing Web services. Wireless handsets can use the standard URL addressing scheme. Wireless Markup Language (WML), a proper subset of XML, provides markup tags best suited for handheld devices with small screens and null keyboards. WAP departs from TCP/IP mainly in the areas required to support high-latency, low-bandwidth wireless networks. Because the link between server and client is unique, WAP eliminates the reassembly of out-of-order TCP packets. WAP permits only one packet stream order: the one formed as the packets generate. Thus, WAP simplifies many parts of TCP/IP, and makes systems run more efficiently over low-bandwidth wireless networks. WML is also smaller than HTML, with WAP's simplified protocol allowing shorter messages that save on bandwidth. WAP also defines new functionality. For example, its telephony functions handle dialing from a mobile phone. WAP permits 'push' functions so that the server can send information to a client without the client initiating the request. The server can send a stock quotation or airline reservation change when a change occurs, for example... Perhaps the most damaging indictment of WAP is the most obvious: Telephones were made for ears, not eyes. The current mobile telecom marketshare leaders own a lot of ears -- and mobile phones simply aren't intended to be watched. Thus, the market for WAP never developed because it solved a problem nobody cared about: how to turn an audio phone into a visual browser. Instead, server-based interactive voice response is taking off. Once the IVR technology converts information into audio, any old cell phone will do just fine. There will never be much need for WAP as long as mobile-device users prefer audio to video..."

  • [June 20, 2000] "Creating WAP Services." By Luca Passani. In Dr. Dobb's Journal (DDJ) #314 = Volume 25, Issue 7 (July 2000), pages 70-78. [Special issue on Distributed Computing.] "WAP is a communications architecture designed for wireless networks. Luca examines WAP services, then presents a WAP application used to pick songs from a database of music. To build this application, he uses the Apache web server (with PHP support) and MySQL database. Additional resources include wapserv.txt (listings) and (source code)."

  • [July 27, 2000] "Shaking Off the Wires." By Hank Simon. In Intelligent Enterprise Volume 3, Number 11 (July 17, 2000), pages 58-62. "WML is the markup language that sits on top of WAP. It is what HTML is to the conventional Web. WML is a flavor of XML and lets Web page developers create information that handheld computers, palmtops, smart cell phones, pagers, and other wireless devices can read. The WAP standard works with cellular digital packet data (CDPD), code division multiple access (CDMA), time division multiple access (TDMA), global systems for mobile communications (GSM), and other wireless standards. Wireless devices communicate through the wireless network to a WAP server. A WAP server converts data or Web pages between WAP and TCP/IP. This conversion lets conventional Web servers send WML pages to wireless devices, which use microbrowsers that let users surf the Web. Tools are emerging that will automate the ability to author content for multiple devices: cell phones, palmtops, and desktops. XML will help this situation by separating information into pure XML content and pure XML style sheet language (XSL)-based presentation. The point is to design an XML document architecture that separates presentation method, which varies by device, from content. In this way, the XML-based content can be translated to HTML for conventional browsers and to WML for microbrowsers by using different XSL scripts."

  • [September 16, 2000] "WAP Forum moves toward Net standards." By Stephen Lawson. In InfoWorld (September 14, 2000). "The WAP Forum expects to approve Version 2.0 of WAP (Wireless Application Protocol) by mid-2001 and may complete specifications before that for features such as animation, streaming media, and downloading of music files, leaders of the group said at a press event Thursday following a two-day meeting here. The next major version of WAP, a protocol for providing Internet-based data services on mobile phones, will complete a migration to XHTML (Extensible Hypertext Markup Language) and TCP (Transmission Control Protocol) as the foundation of the technology, which will make it easier for developers to write WAP applications, said Michael Short, director of international affairs and strategy at BTCellnet, in Slough, England, and a member of the WAP Forum board of directors. The group, which has more than 580 member companies and hosted about 700 delegates here, is also making progress toward enabling additional services on WAP devices, according to Scott Goldman, chief executive officer of the WAP Forum. In addition to animation, streaming media, and music downloads, WAP will display color graphics, provide location-specific content, and allow users to synchronize information with personal information manager software on a desktop PC in a remote location. Goldman painted WAP, which has been labeled a transitional technology because of its slow performance and rudimentary display, as a vital technology even for the upcoming age of third-generation (3G) wireless communications. The 384Kbps that 3G will deliver to roving users will be shared bandwidth, so each user typically will get only 20Kbps to 30Kbps throughput to a mobile device anyway, Goldman said... While the WAP Forum moves WAP toward XHTML and TCP, another wireless Internet technology, NTT DoCoMo's I-Mode, is moving in the same direction, Goldman said. The two probably will converge next year, he said."

  • [June 27, 2000] "WAP: The technology everyone loves to hate." By Ephraim Schwartz. In InfoWorld (June 23, 2000). "For my inaugural column, I'm going to lay out what is increasingly becoming a contrarian view: Rumors of WAP's demise are greatly exaggerated. For better or worse, WAP (Wireless Application Protocol) will become the protocol that wouldn't die -- at least not without a fight. And let's face it, what's the alternative? Sure, if you ask anyone in the industry about WAP, you'll get comments ranging from "WAP is dead, or dying, or barely adequate" to a more cautious "WAP is a transitional technology." But at the same time, research company IDC promises 1 billion cell phones worldwide by 2004, with half of them Internet-enabled. And the only Internet-enabling technology I see being adopted en masse by handset manufacturers and service providers is WAP. Nokia, Ericsson, Motorola, NTT DoCoMo to name a few -- as well as giants in banking, retail, and travel who are developing their mobile e-sites, including Amazon and Schwab -- all are settling on WAP. Microsoft, who came a bit late to the game, gave its grudging approval recently by redoing its cell phone browser for WAP. Once WAP is so well seeded how easily, can it be uprooted? The answer is, not very easily. . ."

  • [June 27, 2000] "Mobile CT: The Call of the Wireless Web." By Robert Richardson. In Computer Telephony (June 20, 2000). (June 14, 2000), pages 140-153. [WAP's the big player in the new wireless Internet -- and it's finally ready to take your calls. We look at how it works, along with some other Net-ready options.'] "Here's a walk through how WAP works, including a quick, messy job of slinging together a 'WAPlication', a look at the all the fresh-minted products you'll need if you want to do it right, and a first-pass at products and services that play in this hot new CT market. Step one begins with the realization that most people who deal with WAP are going to be dealing with the tip of the WAP iceberg. Indeed, they quite possibly won't deal with WAP at all - they'll deal with a web server. WAP applications are actually web applications, at least in the pure model envisioned by the WAP Forum, the more-than-two-hundred-member consortium that guides WAP's future. Like all good web applications, WAP applications are therefore migrating to XML. The idea is that what used to be HTML pages with lots of hardcoded information about how the page should look on a PC screen will now be pages where the content is first marked up in terms of what data it contains and how the various pieces of data relate to each other (using XML), only thereafter passing through a second step where those various data entities are mapped by a 'style sheet' into different appearances that your browser melds together into something pretty. If the web request is coming from a WAP client, then the idea is that a different style sheet kicks in and maps the content into a subset of XML called WML (wireless markup language). As we'll see, WML looks a lot like HTML, only designed to address the paltry half-dozen or so lines of display that your handheld browser's bringing to the game. For the moment, though, let's forget about the XML part. Most real-world web servers aren't using XML just yet, so why should we? Let's start instead by focusing on WML - nothing prevents us from writing our application in straight WML and sending that to the WAP browser. ALL ABOUT WML WML is different from HTML because it doesn't have pages. Instead, it has decks and cards. A deck is the page of markup data that gets sent to the phone when it requests a given URL..."

  • [August 24, 2000] "SoftQuad Software Advances XML Content Delivery to Mobile Users. Leading XML firm joins Wireless Application Protocol Forum." - "SoftQuad Software,, an internationally-recognized developer of XML enabling technologies and commerce solutions for e-business, today announced that it has joined the Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) Forum to advance the delivery of XML content to mobile users. The WAP Forum is an industry association that has developed the de-facto world standard for wireless information and telephony services on digital mobile phones and other wireless terminals. 'With more than 100 million wireless users today, and that number growing daily, there's an enormous demand for content that can be delivered over WAP enabled devices,'said Roberto Drassinower, president and CEO of SoftQuad Software Ltd. 'XML is becoming the dominant format for exchanging content over wireless devices, and our experience in XML and XML content creation solutions will help content providers deliver entirely new services to mobile users.' Through an active membership in the WAP Forum, SoftQuad will join a growing number of industry leaders driving the universal enablement of fast and easy delivery of relevant information and services to mobile users. Members include: Alcatel, AT&T Wireless Services, Bell Mobility, Compaq, Ericsson Mobile Communications, Hewlett Packard, IBM, Intel Corporation, Nortel, Nokia, and many more. 'WAP is based on an XML platform and as such we recognize the demand for tools for developers and authors,' said Scott Goldman, CEO of the WAP Forum. 'SoftQuad provides an excellent solution for creating content that will be delivered to wireless devices and the WAP Forum is delighted to have them as members.' The WAP Forum is the industry association that has developed the de-facto world standard for wireless information and telephony services on digital mobile phones and other wireless terminals. Their primary goal is to bring together companies from all segments of the wireless industry value chain to ensure product interoperability and growth of wireless market."

  • [June 28, 2000] "Macromedia and Nokia Announce Availability of Nokia WML Studio for Macromedia Dreamweaver. New extended functionality enables developers to visually author wireless Web content." - "Macromedia, Inc., a leading provider of solutions for compelling and effective Web sites, and Nokia today announced the availability of the Nokia WML Studio for Macromedia Dreamweaver software. The Studio will enable developers to use Macromedia Dreamweaver software, the market-leading visual Web authoring product for professional Web developers, to author Wireless Markup Language (WML) content for delivery to Nokia and other WAP wireless device customers. The Nokia WML Studio for Dreamweaver software fully supports the WML 1.1 standard and is available for free online on the Macromedia Exchange for Dreamweaver software at The Nokia WML Studio for Macromedia Dreamweaver software enables the 650,000-strong Dreamweaver developer community to create WML decks and cards, insert WBMP images, modify text, and implement anchors and events within the familiar Macromedia Dreamweaver user interface. The WML Studio allows developers to preview their work on the Nokia phone simulator directly from Dreamweaver software. The WML Studio tracks the compiled size of WML decks and includes a debugger allowing validation of WML code as it is created. . . . Macromedia and Nokia are both members of the WAP Forum, the industry association that has developed the Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) and WML. By working together on a Web content development platform for the wireless Internet, the companies are bringing consumers the Internet in presentations suited for the unique handset environment."

  • [April 28, 2000] "NetSanity and Nokia in Field Trials to Deliver Web-Based Information to WAP-Enabled Mobile Phones. Standards-Based Content Delivery Creates More Content Choices for Mobile Internet Users." - "NetSanity, Inc. today announced an aggressive plan to link XML and (Wireless Application Protocol) WAP to create a standards-based platform for the delivery of web content to mobile devices. The new technology will enhance the web experience by delivering a user's favorite web-based information onto any wireless device that is mobile-Internet ready. This month, Nokia and NetSanity will demonstrate the delivery of Digital Pebbles, or pieces of Internet information, to WAP-enabled mobile phones. NetSanity also announced that over 70 content partners and 1500 affiliates have adopted NetSanity's open XML standard, making their content immediately available on the NetSanity SmartBar, NetSanity's current Windows desktop product -- and soon on mobile devices."

  • [April 21, 2000] "Technology Tussle Underlies Wireless Web." By John Borland. In CNet (April 19, 2000). "The market for Net access over cell phones, while still young, is attracting huge amounts of attention, from Wall Street to mainstream shopping malls. A study this week from Cap Gemini America optimistically predicted that a full 78 percent of Net subscribers would be tapping into the wireless Internet as soon as next year. But underneath the hood of this giant-in-waiting lies a technology some influential industry players say is short-lived at best, and at worst a mistake... The WAP technology was largely developed by -- once called Unwired Planet -- and the big three cellular phone equipment makers, Nokia, Ericsson and Motorola. The companies were looking for a way to send content over slow networks and allow it to be displayed on the two-inch screens common to most mobile phones. That meant stripping out most of what the graphics-heavy Web was becoming. But the companies didn't stop there. They based the new standard on something called Extensible Markup Language or XML, which is related but not identical to the language used to create most Web sites...A small but vocal cadre of start-ups has also set itself against the developing WAP orthodoxy. Xypoint, a Seattle firm that provides access to email, stock trades and auction bids over cell phones, says it has deliberately based its service on the two-way text messaging system popular in Europe instead of the WAP."

  • [March 16, 2000] Eduardo Pelegri-Llopart (Sun Microsystems) recently posted an announcement for the creation of an external Sun mailing list supporting the 'Use of XSL in Servlet-Based WML Generation Pipeline'. The focus of the mailing list is the generation of structured content (most concretely WML) in response to HTTP requests using the Servlet and JSP technologies. The relationship to XSL-LIST is that in many (most?) cases the generation pipeline involves an XSLT transformation step, often just before returning content to a WAP gateway. The generation pipeline is also applicable to other content but the list is initially targetted to WML/WAP." Those wishing to join the list should contact Danny Coward ('Servlet Specification & Web Java', Java Software Group, Sun Microsystems).

  • [March 17, 2000] "Hype aside, WAP has worries." By Carmen Nobel. In PC Week [Online] Volume 17, Number 11 (March 10, 2000), page 10. "The running joke in the wireless industry is that WAP doesn't stand for Wireless Application Protocol, but rather 'Where are the phones'. Although the initial version of the WAP specification -- which essentially describes how to display Internet data on mobile phones -- has been ratified, few WAP products are available in the market. Serious issues involving the protocol, such as security holes, intellectual property rights, competitive interim solutions and slow product cycles, could impede delivery of more browsers and devices that support the spec. In light of the recent hacking scares in the industry, security may be the biggest concern at the moment for WAP. While the current spec includes some security, there is a notable holes... As for intellectual property, several companies claim to have invented parts of the specification. Most public among the claims is one made by Geoworks Corp., of Alameda, Calif. Geoworks has a 1994 patent on some of its wireless technology that it says is part of the WAP standard. 'If Geoworks does have a claim, it could be a death knell for the standard', said Jon Oakes, president and CEO of ThinAirApps."

  • [March 18, 2000] "X-traWeb Releases Wireless Markup Language X-Node." By Amy Newman (Managing Editor, ServerWatch). In Internet (March 17, 2000). "X-traWeb Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of World Wireless Communications Inc. Friday unveiled its new Wireless Markup Language (WML) X-Node. The WML X-Node provides connectivity between Web-enabled devices and Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) enabled personal communicators. WAP facilitates access to Internet content from wireless telephones and mobile computing devices that employ micro-browsers. According to the WAP Forum, by 2001 there will be more than 530 million wireless subscribers. This version of X-Node enables customers to monitor and control virtually any device using the Internet and a standard wireless platform, David Singer, World Wireless chairman, chief executive officer and president said..."

  • [February 12, 2000] A SAX Based (K)Java WBXML Parser. The WAP Forum has defined a simple binary encoding for XML (WBXML). Here you can download a limited SAX-based parser taking a WBXML Stream as input. New: A corresponding SAX based WML parser built on top of the WBXML parser is also included. Possible advantages, especially for use on PDAs are: (1) parsing the WBXML seems simpler than parsing native XML; (2) Sending WBXML over a wireless connection is cheaper than sending XML; (3) A WBXML/WML implementation is neded for a WML browser. The parser class file takes about 4.6 k without the required SAX classes and interfaces (also about 5 k). Currently, only a single code page is supported. The SAX DocumentHandler interface is supported, but the parser interface differs in order to include the WAP extensions and to keep it small enough to fit into the KVM." See also the documentation.

  • [March 01, 2000] "The E-Content Company Launches First XML-Based News Portal for Wireless Web Users. Delivers Customized News Information According to Presentation Requirements of Wireless Devices." - "The e-content company, a division of Interleaf, Inc. and leader in delivering XML-based content management solutions for e-business, today launched, the first pure XML-based news portal designed to deliver content to a variety of wireless devices by leveraging the power of XML and XSL. Powered by the e-content company's X-WAP (XML Wireless Application Product), a technological breakthrough using XML and XSL to deliver XML-based content to wireless devices, provides customized information on current events, weather, sports and other topics of interest. Using, companies can experience the strength and capabilities of X-WAP first-hand and see how they can extend their enterprise e-business by easily distributing information to any wireless device. is powered by the BladeRunner integrated eXtensible Markup Language (XML) and eXtensible Stylesheet Language (XSL) technology base. This pure XML/XSL architecture makes it possible for the site to dynamically recognize client devices and style content according to the display requirements of each receiving device. While other wireless Web sites arbitrarily delete content to fit specific display requirements of wireless devices, or dedicate multiple repositories for a specific device type, features a single repository to store all content, eliminating the need to duplicate content to meet the specific display requirements of each device. Through the power of XSL, enterprises can now significantly extend the reach of their web applications by seamlessly transforming XML business content into any presentation format. As a result, X-WAP is the most scalable, easy-to-administer solution for supporting the range of Internet-capable wireless devices, including cellular telephones, personal digital assistants, e-books and pagers."

  • [February 23, 2000] "Building WAP Services. XML and ASP Will Set You Free." By Luca Passani. In WebTechniques Volume 5, Issue 3 (March 2000), pages 48-53. Cover story. "In this article, I'll show you how XML/XSL transformation can help you support new WAP features elegantly. If you're unfamiliar with WAP and WML, you'll want to read this article's sidebars to get some technical background..."

  • [February 11, 2000] "The WAP Vision." By Josh Smith. From (February 11, 2000). ['The WAP vision promises compatibility and accessibility. But it also means that we must design our sites so that the presentation is separate from the information. In part two, Josh Smith points out how the WAP affects accessibility issues and discusses the concept of equivalent alternatives.'] "The latest offering from the W3C (World Wide Web Consortium) and the WAP (Wireless Application Protocol) Forum, comes in the form of WML --the Wireless Mark-up Language. WML is a language defined according to the specifications of the XML standard. Closely associated with this is the Composite Capability/Preference Profiles (CC/PP) exchange protocol. This allows a web server with CC/PP functionality to deliver the appropriate content for a user, depending on the sort of browser and device being used and the limitations of the interface. . . Although WML may be considered the way ahead for mobile connectivity, most web pages are written solely in HTML and are likely to stay that way for a long while yet. The advantages of conforming to the XHTML specification are myriad, but in terms of providing for those with limited functionality interfaces, the fact that XHTML 1.0 requires that your code is compliant with XML syntax means that it will be easier for these interfaces to correctly interpret it, and easier for you to convert the code into WML or other mark-up languages at a later date. It's important to use mark-up appropriately. This means abandoning devices such as the one-pixel GIF and designing layout properly, using CSS. W3C fellow, Johan Hjelm, advises that tables should be used solely for tabulating information, not for dividing up the page..."

  • [January 27, 2000] "Wireless Access Protocol set to take over. WAP addresses the shortcomings of other protocols." By Rawn Shah. In (January 2000). ['A new protocol family for mobile devices, Wireless Application Protocol (WAP), is on the horizon, and analysts are predicting it will become the standard for supporting smart cell phones, pagers, wireless personal digital assistants, and mobile computers by 2001. This month Rawn Shah investigates WAP and finds potential for greatness.'] "Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) has its own protocols that operate in a format more natural for wireless delivery. All WAP Internet connections still have to go through a gateway that connects the two protocols, but the gateway itself can add other services that optimize communications. WAP is designed to handle higher latencies, unpredictable service availability, unpredictable connection stability, and lower bandwidth, all of which present problems for wireless communication. In particular, instability, service availability, and latency problems make it hard to maintain connection-oriented services like TCP, which means most Internet applications that use TCP as their delivery mechanism won't work reliably on a wireless network. Thus the need for WAP... Wireless Application Protocol addresses many issues that surround the Internet Protocol for wireless devices, but it does have its faults. For example, even though some WAP servers can translate Web pages instantly, information can be lost or misrepresented on some devices. However, implementing WAP in a mobile device doesn't exclude the device from running other protocols, so we may see WAP running on higher-end devices (for example, laptops) that support both WAP and IP in the not-too-distant future."

  • [November 08, 1999] "Quick Study: WAP." By Amy Helen Johnson. In Computerworld (November 08, 1999). "The Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) is a set of specifications, developed by the WAP Forum, that lets developers using Wireless Markup Language (WML) build networked applications designed for handheld wireless devices. WAP was designed to work within the constraints of these devices: a limited memory and CPU size; small, monochrome screens; low bandwidth; and erratic connections. WAP is a de facto standard, with support from more than 200 vendors. The WAP Forum isn't a standards body, but it does work with international standards organizations and offers its specifications for official recognition. What makes WAP work as a de facto standard is that the major players in the wireless market all support the specification. Jill House, an analyst at Framingham, Mass.-based International Data Corp. (IDC), lists three of WAP's strong points: 'It's got industrywide support, it's nonproprietary and it's well-suited to the devices it's being ported to.' WAP is important, House says, because more and more information is going out over the wireless network. Recent IDC reports predict that sales of smart phones -- just one type of device that supports WAP -- will reach 2.6 million units in the U.S. and 539 million units worldwide in 2003. The WAP Forum has a three-stage, public-comment process for including wireless standards specifications in its WAP Specification Suite, now at Version 1.1."

  • [February 04, 2000] "OnDisplay Joins WAP Forum To Extend E-Business To The Mobile Users. E-Business Leader Supports Open Standards to Deliver Instant Information and Transactions to Wireless Computing Devices." - "OnDisplay, Inc., a leading provider of e-business infrastructure software for powering e-business portals and e-marketplaces, today announced it has joined the Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) Forum in an effort to provide rich, reliable relevant content and real-time transactions to mobile users. In response to market demand for mobile e-commerce solutions, OnDisplay will conform work to ensure its products to meet WAP specifications, thereby ensuring furthering open standards and helping to fuel the continued growth of the wireless information industry. OnDisplay's CenterStage products and services enable corporations to deploy and easily manage e-business portals and e-marketplaces that seamlessly aggregate, integrate and exchange information between among customers and trading partners. The WAP Forum is an industry associations that has developed the de facto worldwide standard for wireless information and telephony services on digital mobile phones and other wireless terminals. Handset manufacturers representing 95 percent of the world market across all technologies have committed to shipping WAP-enabled devices. Carriers representing more than 100 million subscribers worldwide have joined WAP. These commitments will put tens of millions of WAP-browser-enabled products in consumer hands by the end of 2000. WAP Forum membership is open to all industry participants."

  • [December 21, 1999] "Benefon Licenses Microsoft Mobile Explorer To Bring WAP and HTML-Based Services and Content to Mobile Phones." - "Microsoft Corp. and Benefon today announced the licensing of Microsoft Mobile Explorer (MME) for Benefon's new wireless communication products. Microsoft Mobile Explorer, first announced on December 8 [1999], is a comprehensive, open software platform designed to power Internet-enabled mobile telephones. MME enables wireless carriers to provide their customers with the choice of a broad line of applications and services on data-enabled telephones. It is a key component of Microsoft's end-to-end wireless strategy to provide mobile Internet solutions that utilize additional technologies such as Microsoft Exchange Server, the BackOffice family and MSN Mobile Services. 'The mobile Internet is elemental in realizing Benefon's vision of putting wireless technology to meaningful use and contributing to the quality of life of people with individual needs,' said Jorma U. Nieminen, president of Benefon. 'What appealed to Benefon in our choice of a technology partner for the mobile Internet was Microsoft's commitment to supporting industry standards such as HTML and WAP and promoting their convergence under XML, to the benefit of customers and service providers alike'. 'Microsoft Mobile Explorer is a key step in realizing Microsoft's vision of empowering knowledge workers and consumers through great software any time, anywhere and on any device,' said Kevin Dallas, group product manager of the Productivity Appliances Division at Microsoft." ['Microsoft Mobile Explorer for feature phones is an operating-system-independent, air-link agnostic, browser-based solution that enables secure corporate or personal access to e-mail, personal information manager data and the Internet when connected to a wireless network. It includes the first dual-mode microbrowser that can display both HTML- and WAP 1.1-authored Internet content.']

  • [November 23, 1999] "Wireless Application Protocol Forum Selects the Open Group to Develop Test Suite for New Wireless Internet Standard. The Open Group Will Serve as Certification Authority for WAP Version 1.1." - "The Open Group, a vendor and technology-neutral consortium dedicated to enterprise integration, today announced an agreement to serve as the certification authority for the Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) Forum's world standard for wireless information and telephony services. For certification testing, The Open Group developed a test suite specification to ensure wireless vendors' products are compliant with the WAP V1.1 specification. As the certification authority, The Open Group will develop and operate the certification program on behalf of the WAP Forum. 'The Open Group was chosen for the WAP Version 1.1 certification testing because of its unrivaled experience in open systems testing and certification,' said Doug Holbrook, chair of the WAP Forum's WAP Interoperability Group. 'The Open Group provides the WAP Forum with the expertise required to meet our aggressive commitment to interoperability.' The WAP Forum has a large number of specifications describing the functionality and specific coding requirements of wireless phones and other devices for WAP certification. The Open Group's test suite measures conformance to the Wireless Markup Language (WML) application layer specifications, as well as WMLscript and WMLscript libraries. The certification test uses a WML server that delivers tests that run on the devices or phones, and performs a functionality and interoperability test at the application level. WML, an eXtensible Markup Language (XML) application, serves as the markup language for WAP devices, just as HTML is the markup language for web pages. WMLscript and the associated WMLscript Libraries define a programming language, related to the ECMAscript language used for programs to run on web browsers."

  • [April 09, 1999] "W* Effect Considered Harmful." By Rohit Khare [4K Associates]. From 4K Associates [an alliance of Internet professionals and academics.] (April 09, 1999). Abstract: "The Wireless Application Forum has developed an entire stack of network protocols parallel to, and only marginally compatible with, the existing Internet architecture. They are convinced handheld wireless devices are -- and will remain -- four orders of magnitude less powerful than conventional Internet hosts and thus require optimized transport, applications, and content. At each turn, WAP Forum has chosen to reinterpret existing Internet standards -- often incompatibly. The shift from UDP to WDP, TLS to WTLS, HTTP to WTP, HTML to WML, ECMAScript to WMLScript -- termed 'the W* Effect' -- is disingenuous at best, and at worst, locks in early WAP adopters to today's lowest common denominator. This report presents a summary of WAP, its history and key players, a layer-by-layer tour of its standards (and its competitors at each layer), and its market potential for handset providers, network operators, application servers, and content providers. This provides context for understanding the strategic conflict between WAP and a host of other, more established Standards Development Organizations (SDOs)."

  • WapIDE (Ericsson) "WapIDE facilitates the creation of applications using WAP. WapIDE allows the user to view and test WML decks and cards on a number of simulated devices. This allows the user to test the behavior of an application on browsers with different characteristics, such as graphic support, display sizes etc. This will give the user/developer feedback on the perception of the application. The WapIDE consist of four main components: WAP Browser, Device Designer, Application Designer, and Server Toolset."

  • [August 18, 1999] IBM's alphaWorks lab recently announced 'Wapsody' as available for download. Wapsody is a set of Java classes that implement most layers of the 'Wireless Application Protocol' (WAP) specification. WAP is the 'World-Wide-Web for mobile phones' -- a browser-based system intended for use from mobile telephone handsets, PDAs, and other mobile computing devices. The WAP system defines a microbrowser that displays specially formatted content pages (in WML-format) that get transmitted to the mobile device using the WAP communications protocol over a broad range of mobile data channels."

  • [June 25, 1999] The W3C acknowledged receipt of a submission from from Ericsson, IBM, Motorola, and for WAP Binary XML Content Format (W3C NOTE, 24-June-1999). The document editors are Bruce Martin ( and Bashar Jano (Motorola). Abstract: Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) is a result of continuous work to define an industry-wide specification for developing applications that operate over wireless communication networks. The scope of the WAP Forum is to define a set of specifications to be used by service applications. The wireless market is growing very quickly and reaching new customers and services. To enable operators and manufacturers to meet the challenges in advanced services, differentiation and fast/flexible service creation, WAP defines a set of protocols in transport, session and application layers. For additional information on the WAP architecture, refer to "Wireless Application Protocol Architecture Specification." This specification defines a compact binary representation of the Extensible Markup Language. The binary XML content format is designed to reduce the transmission size of XML documents, allowing more effective use of XML data on narrowband communication channels. Refer to the specification for one example use of the binary XML content format. The binary format was designed to allow for compact transmission with no loss of functionality or semantic information. The format is designed to preserve the element structure of XML, allowing a browser to skip unknown elements or attributes. The binary format encodes the parsed physical form of an XML document, ie, the structure and content of the document entities. Meta-information, including the document type definition and conditional sections, is removed when the document is converted to the binary format. See also the W3C comment on the WBXML Submission (from Dan Connolly, W3C Team Contact), and note its summary of differences between WBXML and XML. The W3C participants of the XML Activity and the Mobile Access Activity have been invited to review WBXML for possible use in their work.

  • [July 01, 1999] "New Wireless Application Protocol Version 1.1 Embraced as World's Mobile Internet Standard. Wireless Hardware and Software Providers, Network Operators and Content Developers Set to Release WAP V1.1-Ready Products and Services in 1999." - "The Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) Forum today announced the release of the WAP Version 1.1 specifications, a newly enhanced version of the mobile Internet standard that will enable the rapid commercial deployment of WAP-ready products and services worldwide. Using WAP V1.1, users of digital mobile phones and other wireless devices will be able to securely access and instantly interact with Internet/intranet information and advanced telephony services. The announcement was made in conjunction with the WAP Forum?s members meeting, June 27-July 2, in San Francisco. Representatives from 120 WAP Forum member companies from across the globe have joined together at the meeting to advance the development of WAP and build relationships with other industry organizations to ensure that future Internet standards address the needs of low power, low memory wireless devices. To ensure interoperability of WAP products, the WAP Forum has contracted The Open Group ( to develop a test suite to support a certification program for WAP V1.1 conforming clients and servers. The test suite is focused on the Wireless Markup Language (WML) application layer specifications, but also includes tests for the underlying communication protocols. [local archive copy]

  • [May 26, 1999] "Is Microsoft Waffling on Wireless Application Protocol?" By Jana Sanchez. In InfoWorld (May 25, 1999). "Although Microsoft announced earlier this month that it had joined the Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) Forum, an industry group developing and promoting the standard for wireless devices that access the Internet, the move was far from an acceptance of the Forum's vision. As a member of the Forum, Microsoft will now work with other WAP Forum members to accelerate the deployment of wireless mobile devices based on Web standards, Microsoft said in its statement. But Microsoft officials have not put to rest fears that it is rapidly moving ahead with its own plans for a competing service based on Windows CE. Under the WAP forum's plans, mobile operators will offer tailored services for wireless devices and content developers will re-author their Web content in Extensible Markup Language (XML) specifically for these devices. Only those re-authored pages will be available to users of WAP-enabled phones and services. Microsoft insists, however, that with rapid increases in bandwidth and technology advances, users of mobile phones may want to have access to any HTML-based Web page."

  • [March 24, 1999] WAP WML. Proposed Version 3-Feb-1999. Wireless Application Protocol. Wireless Markup Language Specification Version 1.1 "This specification defines the Wireless Markup Language (WML). WML is a markup language based on [XML] and is intended for use in specifying content and user interface for narrowband devices, including cellular phones and pagers. WML is designed with the constraints of small narrowband devices in mind. These constraints include: (1) Small display and limited user input facilities (2) Narrowband network connection (3) Limited memory and computational resources." [local archive copy]

  • [May 06, 1999] "Microsoft Joins WAP Forum. Will Collaborate on Unified XML-Compliant Standard for Wireless Mobile Devices And Services." - "Microsoft Corp. today announced it has joined the Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) Forum, a consortium of more than 90 firms focused on developing wireless information and telephony services for digital mobile phones and other wireless terminals. Microsoft will work with WAP Forum members to accelerate the deployment of wireless mobile devices, as well as a broad range of wireless data services based on broadly supported Internet standards from the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)."

  • [May 07, 1999] "Microsoft joins wireless consortium." By Anne Knowles. In PC Week [Online] (May 06, 1999). "Microsoft Corp. announced Thursday it is joining the Wireless Application Protocol Forum. The WAP Forum, founded in 1997 by Ericsson Inc., Motorola Inc., Nokia Corp. and Unwired Planet Inc., has created a specification for wireless devices like smart phones, pagers and personal digital assistants to access information on the Internet. The group now comprises some 90 vendors, including AT&T Wireless Services, Hewlett-Packard Co., IBM and Intel Corp. WAP 1.1 is now in proposal form. It specifies, among other things, WML, or wireless markup language, which the Forum calls an XML application that is fully compliant with XML. The group plans to eventually submit it for standardization and is working with the World Wide Web Consortium, among other standards bodies. . ."

  • [May 05, 1999] "Lucent, Netscape Launch Wireless Portal." By Michele Masterson. In (May 05, 1999). "Lucent Technologies Wednesday licensed Custom Netcenter from Netscape Communications as part of its effort to develop of a new custom portal aimed at service providers testing Lucent and third-party wireless applications using wireless phones and hand-held personal digital assistants. The portal, dubbed Zingo, will also incorporate wireless Internet technologies from Spyglass Inc. and Wyrex Communications Inc. of Toronto. and will employ Wireless Applications Protocol (WAP). The Zingo portal will use Spyglass Prism technology to translate HTML content into VXML (Voice eXtensible Markup Language) for Interactive Voice Response (IVR) applications or WML format for WAP-enabled phones. Using Prism, a single version of content published in standard HTML format can automatically be reformatted for almost any device with a built-in browser."

  • [March 24, 1999] WMLScript Specification. Proposed Version 11-Feb-1999. Wireless Application Protocol WMLScript Language Specification Version 1.1 This paper is a specification of the WMLScript language. It is part of the WAP application layer and it can be used to add client side procedural logic. The language is based on ECMAScript [ECMA262] but it has been modified to better support low bandwidth communication and thin clients. WMLScript can be used together with Wireless Markup Language [WML] to provide intelligence to the clients but it has also been designed so that it can be used as a standalone tool. One of the main differences between ECMAScript and WMLScript is the fact that WMLScript has a defined bytecode and an interpreter reference architecture. This way the narrowband communication channels available today can be optimally utilised and the memory requirements for the client kept to the minimum. Many of the advanced features of the ECMAScript language have been dropped to make the language smaller, easier to compile into bytecode and easier to learn. For example, WMLScript is a procedural language and it supports locally installed standard libraries." [local archive copy]

  • [March 24, 1999] WAP Binary XML Content Format Proposed Version 03-Feb-1999 Wireless Application Protocol Binary XML Content Format Specification Version 1.1 "This specification defines a compact binary representation of the Extensible Markup Language [XML]. The binary XML content format is designed to reduce the transmission size of XML documents, allowing more effective use of XML data on narrowband communication channels. Refer to the [WML] specification for one example use of the binary XML content format. The binary format was designed to allow for compact transmission with no loss of functionality or semantic information. The format is designed to preserve the element structure of XML, allowing a browser to skip unknown elements or attributes. The binary format encodes the parsed physical form of an XML document, ie, the structure and content of the document entities. Meta-information, including the document type definition and conditional sections, is removed when the document is converted to the binary format." [local archive copy]

  • [March 24, 1999] WAE Specification. Proposed 17-Feb-1999. [local archive copy]

  • Wireless Markup Language Specification February 1998, [local archive copy]

  • W3C NOTE: "WAP Forum - W3C Cooperation White Paper." [local archive copy]

  • Wireless Application Protocol Architecture Specification, [local archive copy]

  • Online Documents

  • Technical Documents

  • WMLScript Language Specification, [local archive copy]


  • [January 20, 1999] "Computer Industry Leaders Join the Wireless Application Protocol Forum. Hewlett-Packard, Oracle and Toshiba Are Among Seven New Members Adopting WAP Standard." - "New members include computer industry leaders Hewlett-Packard Company, Oracle Corporation and Toshiba Corporation, as well as telecom innovators Bussan Systems Integration Company, Tokyo Digital Phone, Glenayre Technologies Inc. and One 2 One. These companies joined the 71 other WAP Forum members at the Forum's meeting held last month in Kyoto, Japan, to specify industry-wide plans for releasing WAP-enabled services and applications during 1999. For the XML connection, see the "WAP Wireless Markup Language Specification." See also the announcement from the WAP focum Web site, .doc format.

  • [March 24, 1999] "The SABRE Group, IBM and Nokia Team to Create Traveler Service for Enhanced Mobile Phone." - "The SABRE Group, IBM and Nokia today announced they are working on a real-time, interactive service - delivered via mobile phone utilizing the Wireless Application Protocol (WAP), a new open industry standard for mobile Internet - that will allow travelers to initiate flight changes and even receive updates from airlines anywhere, anytime. The service will combine SABRE Business Travel Solutions, the company's online corporate travel purchasing system, IBM e-business technologies and the latest mobile communications technology and terminals from Nokia."

  • [February 19, 1999] "DSR releases WAP Developer Toolkit v1.0." "Dynamical Systems Research (DSR) makes available the version 1.0 release of its Developer Toolkit software for the Wireless Application Protocol (WAP). Being completely written in Java, the WAP Developer Toolkit is an ideal suite for multi-platform development. The WAP Developer Toolkit includes DSR's generic WAR (Wireless Application Reader) browser that completely supports (byte-encoded) Wireless Markup Language (WML) as well as WMLScript, including all the WMLScript Standard Libraries. Also included are WML Encoder and WML Decoder for converting WML into the bytecode format." See: WAP Wireless Markup Language Specification

  • [February 23, 1999] "Nokia unveils the world's first media phone for Internet access. The Nokia 7110 dual band GSM 900/1800 media phone brings Internet content and other services to every pocket." - "Nokia has today announced the world's first media phone that is based on the Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) in Mobile Media Mode (WWW:MMM). The Nokia 7110 supports 34 languages and has 35 ringing tones." See also 'First WAP Services'. [local archive copy]

  • [March 18, 1999] "SAGEM demonstrates first dual band GSM handset running Unwired Planet microbrowser." - "SAGEM and Unwired Planet, Inc. (UP) today announced the demonstration of the first dual band GSM handsets running UP.Browser. With over ten active trials, Unwired Planet is leading the push for the deployment of WAP (Wireless Application Protocol) in GSM networks."

  • [December 15, 1998] "Competition Squeezes Wireless Internet Group." By Anthony Cataldo. In EETimes Issue 1039 (December 14, 1998). "An open wireless communications consortium working on an international platform to bring the Internet to mobile phones is under intense pressure to come out with a second version of its protocol and language extensions as wideband CDMA draws near and as alternative schemes come to the fore. Since it was founded in 1997 by Ericsson, Nokia, Motorola and Unwired Planet Inc., the Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) consortium has managed to corral support from some 70 wireless-service providers, cellular-phone manufacturers and software developers. The group is touting an open-standards model for development of XML extensions called the Wireless Markup Language (WML). Proponents say it promises interoperability among all open air interfaces and existing narrowband phones. . . But at least one key partner said the consortium isn't moving fast enough to roll the next version of the standard. And it still has a way to go in wooing software developers and wireless operators. . ."

  • [October 19, 1998] "WAP Standard to the Rescue. New protocol will boost wireless devices' power and speed." By Herb Bethoney. In PC Week [Online] (October 19, 1998).

  • [November 11, 1998] "Wireless Application Protocol embraced by all sectors of Worldwide Wireless Telecommunications Industry." - "The Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) Forum ( today announced 11 new member companies and the appointment of three additional board members. . . [local archive copy]

  • [November 13, 1998] "Wireless Protocol Gathers Steam." By R. Scott Raynovich. In Wired News (November 11, 1998). "Eleven additional companies have joined the Wireless Application Protocol Forum, a group attempting to establish global standards for accessing Web applications through wireless phones and data terminals. Among the new members of the WAP Forum are Bell Atlantic Mobile, France Telecom, and Italy's Telital S.P.A. The group, which now has 71 members, was founded in February by Ericsson, Motorola, Nokia, and Unwired Planet."

  • [January 20, 1999] "Wireless Internet Protocol Garnering Wider Support." By Ephraim Schwartz . In InfoWorld [Electric] (January 20, 1999). "The Wireless Application Protocol group, founded by phone giants Ericsson, Motorola, Nokia, and Unwired Planet, gained some key industry adherents Wednesday when it was announced that Hewlett-Packard, Oracle, and Toshiba are now members. . . The protocol currently includes an Extensible Markup Language-compliant language, Wireless Markup Language (WML). According to a WAP spokesperson, WML will speed development of Internet applications that can be accessed over wireless devices." See the full text of the press release: "Computer Industry Leaders Join the Wireless Application Protocol Forum. Hewlett-Packard, Oracle and Toshiba Are Among Seven New Members Adopting WAP Standard."

  • [March 25, 1999] "Ericsson and Unwired Planet announce interoperability testing of WAP products. Interoperability Testing Agreement Signed To Achieve Compatibility of Handsets and Servers." - "Ericsson and Unwired Planet, Inc. (UP) today announced that the two companies have initiated interoperability testing between their WAP based products in order to make them compatible. Ericsson and UP are both committed to Wireless Application Protocol interoperability, as co-founders of the WAP Forum ( Ericsson's handsets will be compatible with the Unwired Planet UP.Link Server, and handsets containing the UP.Browser software will be compatible with Ericsson's WAP gateway."

  • "Wireless Industry Lauds Cross-Device Standard." By Judy DeMocker. In Internet World (March 02, 1999). "Today, WAP is widely supported by a broad consortium of service and cellular companies that are hoping to make a go of providing Internet access to their roaming customers. In doing so, company executives said they're targeting the upper echelons of their customer base--the cadre of power users who account for the bulk of revenues."

  • "IBM revs up its Pervasive Computing initiative." By Ted Smalley Bowen. In InfoWorld Volume 21, Issue 11 (March 15, 1999). "During 1999, IBM and partners in the auto industry will pilot technologies -- from navigation to communications -- that hook such embedded systems for cars into centrally managed corporate and commercial systems, including services offered by car makers and dealers. In the second half of this year, IBM plans to ship an updated version of On-Demand Server that adds what it calls 'transcoding' capabilities and will manage multiple Web servers as a single virtual domain, according to Victor Nyman, On-Demand Server product manager at IBM. Transcoding will be packaged as a series of plug-ins for On-Demand Server that allow it to convert content from one format to another, such as from HTML to Extensible Markup Language (XML), or from XML to Wireless Markup Language (WML), Nyman said. 'Transcoding -- if you look at the user with a PalmPilot or an in-car system user -- lets you reach that person and give them a portal. If you want to get them information -- the creation of which is out of your control -- [or] if you want to go from HTML to WML via WAP [Wireless Access Protocol], transcoding does that dynamic translation,' Nyman said. 'It will act as a transcoding gateway'."

  • "Specification for wireless Internet access published." By James Niccolai. In InfoWorld Volume 20, Issue 20 (May 18, 1998) "The WAP Forum -- which includes founders L.M. Ericsson Telephone, Motorola, Nokia Mobile Phones, and Unwired Planet -- hopes to establish the specification as an industry standard."

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