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RE: Newbie Question

From: Jan Willekens <JanWi@EXA.NL>
Date: Mon, 8 Nov 1999 10:32:06 +0100
Message-ID: <B7127CA80DBDD211AF820090273C5ABA783A6C@EXASRV01>
To: "'McCrery, Ken'" <KMcCrery@wral-tv.com>
Cc: "'www-mobile@w3.org'" <www-mobile@w3.org>

> Sprint PCS just launched it's wireless service in Raleigh, 
> NC.  I am looking
> at ways of making my content available but I am confused 
> between hdml and
> wml.  Which one is considered the standard for phones?  In 
> which direction
> is the industry leaning towards? 

From the updev.phone.com site:

Q: What is the difference between HDML and WML and which language should I
use to develop my application? 
A:  As one of the the founders of WAP Forum, Phone.com is committed to the
spirit and benefits of open standards. Our Handheld Device Markup Language
(HDML) served as the basis for WAPÆs Wireless Markup Language (WML). As
such, both languages share the same basic programming model and
functionality, with some notable exceptions (see chart below). 

It is important to note that the UP.Link Platform will continue to support
applications written in HDML moving forward. The UP.Link and UP.Browser v3.1
(and higher) support applications written in HDML 2.0, HDML 3.0, and WML
1.1.  Before choosing a language, you should first consult with your
wireless carrier / network operator to determine which phone(s) will be
deployed commercially by the carrier. A complete list of announced phones is
available on this site, which includes UP.Browser version information. 

In general, Phone.com recommends using HDML to develop applications that
will be deployed in the US and Canada, since most of the commercially
deployed phones in these countries only support HDML.  This is also true
with the Alcatel OneTouch phone in France.  HDML also provides the added
feature of nested application contexts (aka "activities").  Activties are
especially useful for developing applications that provide user input forms,
and/or require user data (e.g. credit card numbers) to be secured from other
applications.  As such, financial service and E-commerce developers should
strongly consider using HDML.  Phone.com has submitted to the WAP Forum an
official request to add nested context support to WML for the next major

Here is a very high-level feature comparison chart for HDML and WML.  For
more detail, please refer to the HDML Language Reference and the WML
Language Reference, which are included with the UP.SDK. 

    Feature                            HDML      WML
    ---------------------------------  ----      ---
    Display Cards                       Yes      Yes
    Choice/Select Cards                 Yes      Yes
    Entry/Input Cards                   Yes      Yes
    Nodisplay Cards                     Yes      Yes
    Images in Text and Anchors          Yes      Yes
    Variables                           Yes      Yes
    Deck Access Control                 Yes      Yes
    Deck Cache Control                  Yes      Yes
    Timers                               No      Yes
    Multipe Choice Lists                 No      Yes
    Bookmarks                           Yes       No*
    Nested Activities                   Yes       No** 
    Images in Labels and Choices        Yes       No**
    Mobile Originated Pre-fetch         Yes       No**
    Key Accellerators for Links         Yes       No**

    *  UP.Browser supports this feature via WML META tag
    ** Change request submitted to WAP for next version of WML

It is to be expected that Phone.com recommends using HDML, since they
developed it. I would recommend WML, though, since it is the language the
WAP forum supports and from what I have seen it also has a broad support
from the W3C. I expect this will become the standard markup language for
mobile applications. My advice it to go with the open standard, the one
which has industry support and the one to which the industry is leaning:
WML. What they say about phones supporting HDML and not WML, I can only
comment on the situation in Europe, where WAP phones (Nokia, Ericsson)
support WML. Where the US is concerned, I notice that Motorola is one of the
founders of the WAP forum and their phones support it. Further, to really
reap the benefits of WAP, we need a world wide standard, like the Internet
has provided. I expect this to become WAP.



Jan Willekens
Technical Consultant
Magic Publishing B.V. (Wapmagic)
Gooimeer 6-32
1411DD Naarden
The Netherlands
Tel.: +31-35-6993400
Fax.: +31-35-6993401
Received on Monday, 8 November 1999 04:27:55 UTC

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