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Are you Ready for WAP & WML?

By Merle
Posted Saturday, June 19, 2004

Acronyms make the computer world go round. Things like
HTML, DHTML, XHTML; it's enough to make a grown man cry.
Well, look out! There's a new player in alphabet-town:
"WAP." So what is it and why
should you care? WAP stands for "Wireless Application Protocol"
and it allows people to access the Net using wireless
devices like mobile phones and other gadgets.

It's estimated that by the year 2002 there will be over
800 million wireless users around the world. Eventually
all wireless tools will come equipped with WAP as
standard issue. That's a lot of possible viewers for your
website. The problem is that wireless net-surfers
will not be able to access your HTML-driven site. Their
devices can only read sites built in (get ready for another
acronym!) WML.

WML stands for "Wireless Markup Language."
(Are you taking notes here?) So if you presently have
a website built in HTML and you want mobile users
to be able to view it, you'll need to make another version
of it in WML. The good news is that WML is not hard to learn and can be picked
up easily. Plus, there are plenty of sites online that
will teach you everything you'll ever want to know about
this new technology. Some of the better ones are:

(http://www.wapdrive.net)
Learn what WAP is (and isn't), how to write WAP "cards" (not "pages"), and best
of
all, you'll find some free software you can download
to make your own WAP site. Free.

(http://www.wapuseek.com)
Contains Wap articles, links, tools and more.
Make sure you stop in the developers area for all kinds of
webmaster tools for creating your own WAP pages.

(http://www.gelon.net/dev/)
A ton of helpful information here: leaning WML, books,
where you can host your new WAP sites and more.

(http://www.anywhereyougo.com)
100% wireless application development: archives, news,
books, and more. Sign up for their helpful newsletter
to keep abreast of what's going on in this new field.

As far as building your WAP site you can download free
software or use an online editor available at some
websites.

(http://www.wapmine.com)
WAPPage 1.0 is an extensive and powerful design
tool for WAP (Wireless Application Protocol)
Sites.


(http://mobphone.com)
WAP publishing tool for cellular mobile WAP phones.

Nokia has jumped into the arena by offering "The Nokia
WML Studio". A free download that adds on to Dreamweaver
to create WML content from within Dreamweaver's interface.
Get it at
(http://dynamic.macromedia.com/bin/exchange/dreamweaver/main.jsp)

For hosting your new wireless-enabled site, check out:

(http://www.hoiley.com/) Offering a variety of free services

(http://www.tagtag.com/) Build and host your site free

(http://wappy.to) The first online WAPsite builder complete
with hosting.

Keep in mind that the viewing area on a mobile device
is a whole lot smaller than that of a computer monitor. So you
need to be short and concise. Plan on about 10 text
lines per WAP "card" (instead of "page.") Due to slow transmission speeds
typically 14.4 to 19.6 Kbps you need to keep text and
graphics down to bare minimum.

Wireless phones use "microbrowsers" to surf the web
so you need to make sure the web cards in WML look good on
a wireless device. But what if you don't have that kind
of luxury? No problem, hop over to
(http://www.wapdrive.net) and you'll find something
called "The Wapalizer" that will allow you to look
at any WAP site using your regular browser. Just type
in the URL and a new window opens up that imitates
a mobile phones interface. You can browse through
the entire site to make sure everything will be
viewed correctly by your mobile guests.

So there you have it. WAP and WML, two good
things that just naturally go together. If you presently
have an HTML site you might want to consider making
a version of it in WML as a sidekick, thus opening
yourself up to a whole new audience; a mobile one.

After all, we're a society on the move... and you'd better
keep up!

About the Author
Merle's Cyber Promotions
(http://www.mcpromotions.com/)
"Creating Visibility Online for Small Businesses"
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