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WAP and Mobility

I've been working on my WAP site for the past few days, so I needed a little introduction to the site. Thus I've generated this essay on WAP.

Hi-ya. This is my WAP site, and I hope it contains something that you may find interesting.

billatnapier.com/essay.wmlWAP is a great technology, which has failed to be adopted for several reasons. The main one is that it has not been promoted properly, and also that it is still relatively difficult to find useful WAP sites. This is a shame, as it is perfectly engineered for today's mobile computing devices. Okay, it is rather limited, and provides many new challenges. The main one is how to present information in an efficient way. This goes against the ever increasing requirements of WWW pages, which seem filled with pointless graphics, superficial menu options, and their server-dependent code (XML, PHP, ASP, and all the other TLAs). WAP is thus a pure technology and relies on the strength of text for its content. The information contained in text is actually one of the weakest areas of WWW pages, as most users simply do not read much of the text on the screen, thus WAP gives a good opportunity for content generators to present their information in an interesting a textural way. This is not an easy text, and it must be the text itself that makes it interesting.

WAP was tipped to be a top contender for the future of mobile communications, but it was quickly overtaken by SMS for popularity. It has been designed so that standard WWW servers can be used to host the WAP page (see diagram below). This makes it easy to publish WAP pages. Although the usage of SMS has now overtaken WAP, we must thank SMS for its importance in the adoption of mobile devices. Also without SMS the GSM network providers would have struggled to make enough money in order for them to expand their provisions.



With the advent for GPRS, and of truly graphical mobile browsers, the future of WAP may be limited, but it won't go away for a while, and it is likely to be fully exploited with the new WAP 2.0 specification.

With WAP, as with many other embedded-type applications, there is no hiding from weaknesses, as every little part of the overall system must work, on limited resources, or the whole entity will not work.

So there you have it. The future is mobile, and the future is embedded, at least for part of the Internet. At the core of the Internet, the bandwidth increases at every increasing rates, whereas at the outside of the Internet, there are limited devices, which will always struggle to keep up with the inner core. Too many people are too used to designing software on the most state-of-the-art equipment, and sometimes it is refreshing to step back, and design for the most efficient way possible. That's in terms of processing power, memory and graphics potential. This is not unusual for developers who watched the PC start as a limited computer with a 4.77MHz clock, 640kB memory and a display size of 640x480 (with 16 colours), but it might come as a surprise to one's who are used to having GB's of disk space, and gigabytes of virtual memory, and, of course, enhanced graphics, and high bandwidth connections. The one thing that should be remembered is that within a year or two, there will be more than ten times as many embedded Internet enabled systems, as there are workstation-type computers.



Well I've got to the memory limit that many mobile phones can reach, so I'd better stop now.


Enjoy!

-- Bill.