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WAC wiki creates Waikiki

It asks developers to comment on draft APIs

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications

The Wireless Application Community has published draft specifications for WAC widgets, and is seeking comment from the developer community it so desperately needs to attract.

The specifications are very clearly marked as being draft, with dire warnings against building phones based on the spec, but the idea of the Waikiki is that developers or other interested parties can publicly comment on the proposed API controlling everything from camera and orientation sensors to the widget lifestyle itself.

In WAC terminology, a widget is an application that happens to have been developed using AJAX technologies, so the APIs are JavaScript-based. The WAC will sign widgets that need access to local resources, and distribute them through a warehousing model - local mobile operators run app stores stocked from the WAC warehouse, with anyone else welcome to join the party.

It's a perfectly reasonable model, though few people have leapt to join up just yet. The WAC is backed by the mobile operators, notably Vodafone and China Mobile - the world's largest by revenue and subscribers respectively, but also by a host of others who see the WAC as their last, best, hope of wresting back some control (and associated revenue) from Apple and Google.

The biggest problem facing the WAC will be trying to get the different operators to agree on anything, and within a decent time-scale. Mobile operators are terribly conservative, and gathering them together tends to emphasise that.

Samsung has expressed support, claiming that the WAC complements its Bada platform - but Samsung will declare undying love for anyone with a chequebook. Bada applications will compete directly with WAC widgets, assuming the former lasts long enough for the latter to get established.

WAC needs network operators to put pressure on handset manufacturers to include a WAC client, but before that can happen, someone needs to write a WAC client for the more-popular mobile OSs, which can't happen until the specifications have been nailed down - which is where we come in. ®

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