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Wireless Abstract XML (WAX) is an abstract markup language and a set of tools designed to facilitate wireless application development and portability. WAX is a specification developed by Morphis, an open-source application development platform from Kargo.
Languages such as HTML, wireless markup language (WML) and handheld device markup language (HDML) are not portable from one wireless device to another. WAX operates at a much higher level compared to other markup languages and is therefore portable across different wireless devices. The application developer creates the WAX specification of a particular code section, which can then be implemented across different devices without underlying modification. WAX has a very small learning curve, so application developers can learn the technology in a very short amount of time with desired customizations.
The issue of portability in wireless devices arises due to the different image formats and text files supported on different handsets. The high-end handheld devices support image formats such as JPEG and BMP, while the low-end devices can only offer support for GIF images. Therefore, a portable language is essential during application development because it can automatically map such constraints on specific devices. WAX includes an XML database of services, device recognition features and a registry to determine optimal rendering of content. Devices that share similar aspects and attributes can be grouped under one category. WAX specification is converted into various wireless languages with the help of XSL transformations.
WAX language specifications function at a very high level of abstraction. They are based on the syntactic properties of both HTML and WML. The same WAX component is rendered in a different way on different devices by the browser with respect to optimal subjective appearance. The WAX specification is converted into the target HTML, HDML and WML markup languages by applying extensible style sheet transformations (XSLT).
A device registry containing the various device manufacturers, device identification traits and other features is included to determine the optimal content delivery mechanism. The registry is extensible by the developer to include more device-specific information for specialized applications. For example, multiple formats of the same image can be stored in the disk and the appropriate format can be rendered for a particular device at runtime.This can be done by determining its capabilities and specifications from the registry. Images can also be named in a particular format to identify which version of the image should be delivered to the browser at run time.
The WAX servlet is the core class of the WAX specification. However, languages and servers other than Java-based ones can be used. Also the inherent WAX classes provide database pooling and application logging mechanisms.