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Apache Today: Apache in a Wireless World

Aug 17, 2000, 18:55 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Aaron Weiss)

[ Thanks to Kevin Reichard for this link. ]

"Vendors of wireless communications devices, including such heavyweights as Nokia and Motorola, realized that a data routing system was necessary to push information across wireless networks, which operate with different principles and constraints than physical land lines. ... WAP was designed to push data across the many various types of wireless network topographies in a secure manner, since the wireless space is inherently more vulnerable to eavesdropping than are physical connections. ... A companion to WAP was needed then, as well as a defined document format that would render sensibly in the constrained space of small wireless devices."

"The Wireless Markup Language, WML, will strike a familiar chord to anyone who has ever worked with the HTML behind most Web pages. In fact, WML is a specific implementation of XML, defining a markup syntax and structure with which users can design pages suitable for a small device. HTML and WML operate on slightly different underlying metaphors. Whereas HTML is premised on the now-ubiquitous "page" metaphor, WML rests on a "deck of cards" metaphor. Typically, an HTML document represents a single Web page, but a WML document represents a deck within which there can be one or more cards. Navigation within the deck consists primarily of flipping between cards in the deck, either in sequence or via hyperlinks."

"By and large, the Web server doesn't need much tweaking to deliver WML pages to a wireless device. As far as Apache is concerned, it needs only to know how to recognize the MIME type of the file, based on the file's file name extension. Apache will pass this MIME type to the receiving browser and, assuming the browser knows WML, it will know what to do with a WML type file."

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