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WinWAP 3.0 Professional

WinWAP 3.0 Professional

Well designed and a pleasure to use
As far as I know, WinWAP is the first WAP browser that is installable on a PC and a PDA. While wireless hardware and software vendors provide a myriad of PC WAP emulators, they lack a common interface, are often somewhat ugly, and require cumbersome navigation. WinWAP provides a traditional "wired Internet" look and feel. Most of the navigation and functionality on WinWAP is taken from popular HTML browsers. On a PC, the user can navigate the "Wireless Web" via a standard keyboard and mouse.

Start with the free evaluation download. WinWAP has three evaluation versions. One each for Window's-based machines, handsets running Windows CE, and CASIO Cassiopeia devices. The largest evaluation version is only 3MB. Downloading is a snap and the product installation is smooth and predictable.

When opening WinWAP for the first time, you may say, "Hmm I've seen this before." This familiarity is the main strength of WinWAP. It borrows heavily from the look and feel of an HTML desktop browser. Navigation is intuitive and painless. Similarities to an HTML browser are:

  • Bookmarking
  • URL type ahead and history
  • Toolbar with familiar "Back", "Forward", and "Refresh" buttons
  • Viewing of source markup tags
  • Support for cookies
WinWAP supports both WTLS and HTTPS security and has full support for WMLScript (both text and compiled). Incredibly easy to use, the WinWAP browser is engineered to make the WAP/WML navigation as easy to use as a "wired" HTML browser.

WinWAP is very popular. According to Slob-Trot, WinWAP is the world's most used WAP browser. With WinWAP you can read WAP sites with your PC over any Internet connection. It supports loading binary WML pages as well as text WML pages over the HTTP protocol, or via a WAP gateway provided by your telephone company. The benefit of using WAP services with your PC is that you have a large screen, mouse, and keyboard, and can use fast modem or LAN connections in addition to all the benefits from being able to print, save, and search WAP. WinWAP can be configured to launch automatically when Internet Explorer receives a WML page.

Developing and testing WML on a large screen can actually be a bad thing. Remember the main challenge in developing WML applications is the limited display area on the client device. You have to be careful when developing on the wide-open spaces of WinWAP. Fortunately WinWAP saves you from yourself by providing correct size emulation for a variety of popular devices such as:

  • Nokia 7110/6210
  • Ericsson R320
  • Ericsson MC218
  • Motorola Timeport
There aren't many. WML browsers suffer from the same problems as their HTML counterparts. They interpret content differently. For example, WinWAP would not accept card navigation from within a WML table. Also, I'm not sure WinWAP is as WML Script­compliant as it claims.

Who Would Want to Use This?
I would think that everyone from casual users to professional programmers could get something out of WinWAP. Here are the user possibilities:

  • Casual users who would like to surf wireless sites, but do not have a WAP device (or don't want to pay for connection fees).
  • Professional developers who need a cheap way to test their WML. With WinWAP, there's no need to test on an actual device, nor is a complicated SDK needed.
  • Any other curious party interested in browsing wireless sites. Remember, since WinWAP uses your existing Internet connection, there are no additional provider service charges. So surf away.

    The full-featured trial version is free and expires in 30 days. After that it must be registered for $35 USD, a very reasonable price in my opinion. A licensed version gives you improved access to technical support as well as free future updates.

    Final Thoughts
    To be honest with you, I'm really not sure where WAP is going. WAP never really took off, and part of me believes that it never will. With the advent of new technologies, WAP may indeed be on its way out. When the "cool" factor wore off, many mobile customers found out that WAP is costing them up to 10¢ per minute. Sure it may be fun to check football scores on your lunch hour. But do you really want to pay so much for it?

    Only two years ago, just about every major Internet content player had a "sister" WAP site. Slowly, these sites have disappeared or been left to die on the vine. I don't have any hard numbers, but the Internet bust killed many WAP sites. And they have been slow to recover.

    At any rate there remain a large number of WAP sites out there, some of them worth visiting. If you are a developer responsible for serving WML to a gaggle of pervasive computing devices, WinWAP is for you. WinWAP is well designed and an absolute pleasure to use.

    Slob-Trot Software Oy Ab
    Melkonkatu 16 B
    00210 Helsinki
    Tel: +358-9-6811960
    Fax: +358-9-6822187
    [email protected]

  • More Stories By Bob Hendry

    Bob Hendry is a PowerBuilder instructor for Envision Software Systems and a frequent speaker at national and international PowerBuilder conferences. He specializes in PFC development and has written two books on the subject, including Programming with the PFC 6.0.

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