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Mobile Phones //// Misconceptions


WAP Phones, WAP enabled, WAP sites, etc

"Surf the Internet on your mobile phone!"

Sounds pretty good, don't you think? But supposing someone offered you an old 386 with a 12inch 640x480 monitor and a 14400 baud modem and no sound card, wouldn't you feel it was a bit limited? Well, a mobile phone (2001/12) is a lot more limited than that!

However, WAP (Wireless Application Protocol) works and there it is indeed possible to look at some websites on a mobile phone. BUT, not all websites, only those that are WAP ENABLED!

To WAP-enable a website means converting all the code which it is made of, which for sites bigger than just a few pages is a big task! In effect, a WAP enabled site is two versions of the same site; one written in HTML and the other in WML. These are not the same stuff, and the WAP version is generally a more limited version.

WAP sites are written in WML rather than in HTML. It's a different language. HTML = HyperText Markup Language (the stuff standard websites are made of), WML = Wireless Markup Language.

Learning about WAP and WML is not as easy as it should be. The WAP FORUM don't appear to be interested in replying to e-mails, and some shops that sell WAP phones don't seem to realise that someone saying "I want to WAP enable my website" should be encouraged, because if there were no WAP enabled site, WAP would become extinct!

There is a common myth that to have a WAP enabled site you need a special WAP server. This is NOT TRUE. You write the site in WML and upload it to the same server you've got your standard HTML site on!

Useful contacts:

Carphone Warehouse - where you can buy WAP phones

The Happy Hippy (was www.hippy.freeserve.co.uk/wap.htm) - who is probably the ultimate resource and explainer of WAP and WML, and a darn sight more helpful than the WAP Forum