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Wireless Web XML slow to take hold

Lack of a unified XML standard for wireless Web services may be holding back growth in the consumer sector, said Ken Waln, CTO at Santa Clara, Calif.-based Edify Corp. (http://www.edify.com).

More than the slow economy, he sees the lack of wireless standards as a bottleneck to developing innovative consumer applications in the U.S.

Waln, whose firm specializes in XML-based multi-channel CRM products, holds out hope for greater standardization of wireless Web services in the U.S., but believes it may be two or more years away.

''The one thing that seems to be happening -- this is probably a few years from converging completely -- is that the new WAP standard, which is WML, is based on XHTML,'' Waln told XML Report. ''There is some hope that all of the standards will move toward an XHTML base so that there will be a more common XML-based way to talk to the devices.''

Until that standard convergence is achieved, he said, vendors and developers have to design wireless Web applications that can interact with devices ranging from handheld computers to telephones that are not standardized.

''I think that in the near- to medium-range future it is really an issue of being able to develop an application that can have lots of different presentations depending on the device,'' Waln said. ''That's the approach we've taken to make it easier to create those new presentations. So when a device shows up with a new language, as long as it's HTML or XML-like, you can plug it in. Even though there's hope of it [XHTML] converging, we're not counting on it.''

Waln will elaborate on his views of trends in wireless Web development at a technical session on customer self-service strategies at the Global Electronic Marketing Conference (GEMCON) 2002 to be held in Phoenix from Oct. 16-18.

Further information about GEMCON is available at http://www.fmi.org/events/confmain.cfm?meetings_id=256/

About the Author

Rich Seeley is Web Editor for Campus Technology.

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