Going Wireless with WML and XHTML Mobile

An important variant of XHTML is called XHTML Mobile, and its focus is on mobile devices that don't require the full XHTML feature set. You've probably experienced the challenge of trying to "browse" the web on a mobile phone. If so, you probably understand how constrained the mobile phone environment can be in terms of limited screen space, processing power, memory, and so on. Some mobile devices exist that are more flexible in this regard, but the fact remains that mobile devices have unique needs when it comes to accessing online information.

You may have heard of WML (Wireless Markup Language), which is a markup language used to code scaled down web pages for mobile devices. WML strips a transmission down to its bare essentials by providing what is basically a pared down HTML for the wireless world. Paradoxically, it offers a remarkable amount of interactivity through its action elements, navigation controls, and scripting capabilities. WML and XHTML Mobile are technically two different technologies but efforts are underway to combine them into a single technology that solidifies an XML future for mobile web browsing. This tutorial explores WML, XHTML Mobile, and the imminent convergence of the two.

In this tutorial, we'll cover

  • How WML and XHTML Mobile fit into the state of the wireless web
  • Decks and cardsthe anatomy of a WML document
  • Formatting tags for WML text
  • How to provide for user entry in WML
  • Blending WML with XHTML Mobile