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This is a glossary of industry terminology related to the mobile web.

  • Native Application. Mobile phone software compiled into a compatible binary format, stored in phone memory and run locally on the device. i.e. web browser, email reader, phone book
  • Web Application. An application that is accessed via Web browser over the Internet.  Application runs on a web server. Markup documents rendered on phone. No binary compilation or persistent local storage.
  • Handheld Device Markup Language (HDML). The oldest markup language for display on mobile devices (circa 1996). Very simple syntax. Never standardized, but influential in the development of  WML. No longer used on mobile phones in North America and Europe.
  • Wireless Markup Language (WML). XML-based markup language for mobile phones. Very simple syntax. Standardized by W3C. Considered legacy markup for mobile devices. Implements WAP.
  • Wireless Application Protocol (WAP). Open standard for network communication that allows mobile devices to access the Internet. Lightweight protocol providing primitive Internet support (from a desktop point of view). Criticized for bifurcating the web into Desktop and Mobile variants.
    • WAP 1.x – WML
    • WAP 2.x – XHTML-MP
  • i-mode. NTT DoCoMo proprietary wireless Internet service. Provides mobile devices access to web, e-mail and packet data. Available only in Japan.
  • Compact HTML (cHTML or C-HTML). Subset of HTML for i-mode browsers.  Used only in Japan. Considered technical superior to WML. Replaced at W3C by XHTML Basic.
  • XHTML Basic. W3C-standardized subset of HTML targeted for mobile devices, pagers and set-top boxes.
  • XHTML Mobile Profile (XHTML-MP). Superset of XHTML-Basic defined by the Open Mobile Alliance industry group. Considered the implementation of WAP 2.0. Very popular markup language for mobile devices.
  • XHTML. HTML markup language in XML-compliant syntax.

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