Feeds

BBC kills off WML site

Anyone still running WAP gateways?

Boost IT visibility and business value

The BBC has killed off the Wireless Markup Language version of its site, pointing out that no one uses WAP any more – not for looking at web pages anyway.

The BBC's WML page now presents an apology and suggests that XHTML might be a better technology to use, while the formal announcement points out that fewer than one per cent of the BBC's mobile visitors are using WML these days, compared to 20 per cent two years back, thanks to the outright domination of the XHTML standard.

WML is an XML language, and was launched at a time when HTML was a bastard offspring of XML at best; WML pages are required to be perfect (well formed), and are vetted by a proxy server before delivery to the handset. That means the browser doesn't have to check for, or cope with, badly written code – which is what web browsers spend most of their time doing.

WML came with a graphics format too – WBMP (wireless bitmap) – ideal for sending monochrome images to be rendered with a minimum of local processing power. WBMP didn't even have to wait for colour screens to make it redundant, phones capable of shading in grey required something better.

WML and WBMP are both parts of WAP (Wireless Application Protocol) which specified the proxy architecture as well as the file formats. The WAP proxy checks every page delivered for errors, translates HTML pages into WML to reduce the load on the handset, and transcodes images into smaller (and more easily rendered) formats. Which is just what Opera Turbo and SkyFire are doing today, not to mention network operators are still doing a lot of this kind of thing in the interests of network efficiency, and without telling the customers.

WAP still lives on in daily use through WAP Push (a notification service carried over the SMS channel and used to deliver MMS messages, among other things), but as a markup language, WML is really dead. The surprise is not that the BBC has dropped it, but that the broadcaster continued running it for so long. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
UK fuzz want PINCODES on ALL mobile phones
Met Police calls for mandatory passwords on all new mobes
Don't call it throttling: Ericsson 'priority' tech gives users their own slice of spectrum
Actually it's a nifty trick - at least you'll pay for what you get
Three floats Jolla in Hong Kong: Says Sailfish is '3rd option'
Network throws hat into ring with Linux-powered handsets
Fifteen zero days found in hacker router comp romp
Four routers rooted in SOHOpelessly Broken challenge
Netflix swallows yet another bitter pill, inks peering deal with TWC
Net neutrality crusader once again pays up for priority access
New Sprint CEO says he will lower axe on staff – but prices come first
'Very disruptive' new rates to be revealed next week
US TV stations bowl sueball directly at FCC's spectrum mega-sale
Broadcasters upset about coverage and cost as they shift up and down the dials
Tech city types developing 'Google Glass for the blind' app
An app and service where other people 'see' for you
Canadian ISP Shaw falls over with 'routing' sickness
How sure are you of cloud computing now?
UK mobile coverage is BETTER than EVER, networks tell Ofcom
Regulator swallows this line and parrots it back out at us. What are they playing at?
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.