Sunday, February 10, 2019

RIP WAP (or don't, we don't care)

Doing some cleanup of my blog, I ran into's rant about WAP - now available only on the Internet Wayback Machine. At the time I linked to the article I wrote
WAP is the underlying protocol that you use when you use "wireless internet" on your cellphone. Although the protocol itself isn't too too bad (except for an odd 1492 character limit in how much a server can send in one gulp), it's associated with WML, a terrible HTML-like language, and also having to use the cellphone keypad to laboriously tap in letters.
I'm impressed at the combination of technical depth and strong feeling of that article. WAP was horrible. And like the article mentions but my summary leaves out, the nickel-and-diming of the usage fees kept people away in droves. While some other phones were creating more-or-less-ok web experiences on phones (I will always love this horribly NSFW rant extolling the Nokia E70 over the iPhone) I am convinced that one absolutely critical factor in the success of the first iPhone was getting Cingular/AT&T to offer it only with "all you can eat" data, so people could just use the thing without hearing the tick tick tick of an invisible meter run.

Around that time I was working on a project making a WAP gateway to your ATM account balance information (which is why I was intimately familiar with the 1492 character limit) -- late stage dot com boom was a weird time

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