Mobile phones: WML

What is WML and what do I need?

Important: You need to fully understand XML before venturing into WML. You must also remember that mobiles are currently severely restricted in terms of bandwidth and display capability. WML does not lend itself to static documents as in the traditional home page of HTML. Instead, you need to consider a static page only as an introduction to a dynamic service that uses CGI or Perl.

WML code (the basis of WAP) cannot be readily tested in web browsers. If you are using Perl or CGI to create dynamic WML code, make sure you use the correct mime type for WML. Use text/vnd.wap.wml

So in Perl, instead of using print "Content-type: text/html\n\n" use: print "Content-type: text/vnd.wap.wml\n\n";

If you have a Windows XML editor installed, you can add this mime type to the WML file type using View, Folder Options in Windows Explorer. You will probably have to create a new file type for WML. Simple, text only, WML files can be tested at www.gelon.net using any v4 WWW browser.

In order to properly test your WML code, you will need to install a toolkit or microbrowser. Take care selecting your source as only some versions are free, some require extra software and may involve a large download (6-18MB). The Nokia WML Toolkit requires the latest release of Java. The Toolkit is the older version as v1.3 also requires Nokia's own WAP server to be installed which is only free for a limited 30 day trial. Even so, v1.2 is a 6MB download with Java on top. The Ericsson Toolkit is also a large download as it includes a copy of the Xitami intranet web server. You need to download WAP_IDE_3PP as well as WAP_IDE_SDK making a total of 11MB. Although you have to download Xitami, if you already have it or a similar web server installed (Microsoft PWS for Win95/98 is not recommended) you do not have to install it. Unfortunately Ericsson do not provide the 3PP without Xitami. :-(

There is also a microbrowser available from Phone.com at 6.5MB. This will use a local server but the browser window is full screen height - you might have to hide the taskbar in Win95/8 to see all the controls. Each microbrowser is different and the mobile phone buttons available look different and behave differently, especially with regard to links and forms (the basis of the WAP web!).

Don't expect to write WML code without testing on some kind of microbrowser.



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