The Wireless Markup Language (WML) is the HTML of WAP browsers and is transmitted via the HTTP protocol.
WML is a markup language built specifically for communicating across WAP-based networks, and is based upon XML (eXtensible Markup Language). Like HDML, it is at first glance similar to HTML, but is also a much more strictly written language.
To make it possible for web pages to be read from a WAP-enabled device, WML must be used. The WML coder determines within the code what parts of the web page are viewable to the device, and what is not. For example, it would not be too advantageous for a 468x60 pixel banner to be loaded into the small screen of a WAP device, due to size, color and bandwidth restraints. However, certain parts of the text may be made available to the device.
The advantage of the WML language is the fact that, since it is a subset of XML, developer's can easily kill two birds with one stone by building both the web page and wireless device page simultaneously. While this is still possible with HDML code, it is certainly not as obvious and workarounds must be introduced
History of WAP and WML
The roots of WAP are rather interesting, as they are built on the premise of industry cooperation. This is rather ironic, since the first official release of the protocol took place at the height of the ill-remembered 'Browser Wars'. It is undoubtedly this cooperation that was one of the major propellants for the widespread acceptance of WAP, allowing the standard to be quickly developed and integrated into the existing products of the many corporations responsible for its' development. This open standard also led to the rise of many new startups focused upon developing and marketing their own niche applications. Let's turn towards a brief discussion of this history, and how it ultimately led to the popularity seen today.
Way back when, in 1995, Ericcson spearheaded an effort to develop a general protocol that would offer a variety of value added services to wireless networks. Several other companies were soon on Ericcson's heels, developing various other technologies to compete in this soon-to-explode market, two major players including Nokia (http://www.nokia.com) and Phone.com, formally known as Unwired Planet (http://www.phone.com).
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