WML Toolkits

Testing your new WML pages

Toolkits are very useful for testing your WML pages, even if you have your own WAPphone, but you should choose carefully which toolkit(s) to use. If you want to make sure your pages will work correctly in as many microbrowsers as possible, it may be best to install all 3 of the toolkits used in the development of the CodeHelp site. Check Waplinks for more information as toolkits are undergoing continuing development. (This page written May 2000).

The Ericsson toolkit comes complete with the Xitami personal web server, available separately from imatix.com. A localhost server like Xitami will help with the creation of your WML pages - it should make loading pages quicker and allow the testing of dynamic content. Microsoft Personal Web Server for Windows 95/98 does have some problems and other servers should cause less problems with your current configuration.

The Nokia Toolkit currently comes in two versions, with the newer version requiring a proprietary Nokia server that is available as a free trial but which would need to be paid for once the trial expires. Check the Nokia site for more details, nokia.com - be prepared to register with Nokia as a WAP developer (free) before entering the Nokia Forum where you will find the links to the toolkit. (I can't give you an absolute URL because of the registration process.)

Phone.com also have a Phone.com Software Developer's Kit which is faster than either the Nokia or the Ericsson toolkits. However it is not as good as either Nokia or Ericsson for developing and testing dynamic WML pages.

(If anyone from Nokia, Ericsson, Microsoft, Imatix or Phone.com is reading this, these are my personal opinions of the toolkits and other software I have installed, according to my personal judgement of the suitability of each product for the specific tasks involved in developing the CodeHelp WML site. None of the above is intended to relate to any other use of the software and is not intended as a recommendation of any specific item for any other specific task.)

One final program is a WML browser for your PC - WinWAP. v2.3 Light is available from www.slobtrot.com

WinWAP is a shareware browser that reads wireless markup language (wml) formatted data. The browser looks, and functions much like any standard html browser, but instead of reading hypertext transfer markup language data ( html ) it is designed for wml. It supports 3 ways of getting the data. HTTP: Hyper text transfer protocol is the same protocol that is used to read "normal" internet pages with a computer over a tcp/ip connection. WapStack ( Only available in the PRO version ! ) and Winwap can open .wml files locally from a drive on the computer ( or network drive)

WinWAP has a particularly useful feature of being able to dynamically change the size of the browser window to match the screen size of various WAP phones on the market. It gives a real sense of proportion and helps you to design user friendly sites by helping you appreciate the amount of scrolling required just to read a single paragraph of a page like this one over a mobile phone connection. Some screens can be as little as 20 characters across. Try reducing the width of this window to the narrowest you can without the horizontal scrollbar showing. The portion left for this text should give you some idea of the problem.

When using WinWAP, remember that it is more of a browser than a toolkit and operations that are easy in WinWAP may be quite difficult on a mobile phone. In particular remember that entering characters on a phone can mean as many as 6 keypresses for each character.

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