(WML) is an OpenMobileAlliance?
standard similar to the much more familiar WorldWideWebConsortium
WML was designed for portable devices with slow, wireless internet connections and weak processors. Almost all phones that claim to be "Web Enabled" or allow internet access, will display WML. Most modern phones will also display HTML so WML is somewhat passe'. HandheldDevicesMarkupLanguage?
(HDML) has also emerged as a better markup language for cell phones.
It is rare to find web browsers for desktop PCs that will render WML. However, ApacheSoftwareKlondike?
is a fine example and is currently free. The present versions of InternetExplorer
, Mozilla, NetscapeNavigator
, and Opera all act as if WML didn't exist.
One of the main differences (advantages?) between WML and HTML is the concept of "decks" and "cards". Rather than a single HTML page that links to other pages, WML files are decks of multiple cards that contain links to each other and to cards in other decks. The concept is that multiple cards are sent to the mobile device at once and the user can flip between them rather than scroll through one long page or make frequent requests for multiple, small pages. Wireless links are typically slow and one largish transaction is much faster than several small transactions.
Despite the advantages of HTML in terms of style and presentation, WilliamFrantz
still recommends that websites intended for mobile devices adhere to the WML standard. It ensures compatibility with the greatest number of devices and it really does provide a better browsing experience over slow connections if decks are constructed with proper care.
wApua is a WAP WML browser written in Perl with a Tk user interface. It uses libwww-perl as its backend, has history and cache, and can display most WML tags, including tables and WBMP images. It includes a WBMP to XBM converter for command line use.