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Wireless application protocol

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Wireless application protocol (WAP) is an open international standard for applications that use wireless communication, e.g. Internet access from a mobile phone.

The official body developing WAP is the WAP Forum.

WAP was intended as a mobile replacement for the World Wide Web. However, its idiosyncratic protocols cut users off from the true HTML / HTTP Web, leaving only native WAP content and Web-to-WAP proxy content available to WAP users.

WAP was hyped at the time of its introduction, leading users to expect WAP to have the performance of the Web. The reality fell far short of expectations.

This led to the unkind, but widely used phrase: "WAP is crap".

The primary language of the WAP specification is WML, or Wireless Markup Language - a derivation of XML.

The new version of WAP, WAP 2.0, is effectively a complete re-engineering of WAP using XML. Many observers predict that this next-generation WAP will converge with, and be replaced by, true Web access to pocket devices.

This article (or an earlier version of it) contains material from FOLDOC, used with permission.

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