Book Review: All About WAP

Wiley's new book provides a good introduction to the wireless application protocol for nontechnical executives, but may not be as useful for those already in the know.
Posted November 21, 2000

David Fisco

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Book Information
The Wireless Application Protocol: A Wiley Tech Brief

By Steve Mann and Scott Sbihli

Published September 2000, Wiley Computer Publishing, John Wiley & Sons, Inc.; ISBN 0471399922
224 pages, softbound, $23.69 USA/$46.50 Canada
To buy this book, click here.

The wireless application protocol (WAP) allows mobile users to access a variety of Internet content and services. While optimized for the constraints of small, less-powerful devices such as cellular telephones and handheld devices operating with limited bandwidth, WAP manages to offer security and device-independent computing. For a short, nontechnical introduction to this quickly evolving technology, read The Wireless Application Protocol: A Wiley Tech Brief by Steve Mann and Scott Sbihli.

Mann is a software developer and writer. His credits include Programming Applications with the Wireless Application Protocol (see Additional Resources box at end of article) and Advanced Palm Programming: Developing Real World Applications, both published by Wiley Computer Publishing. Sbihli works for Dynamis Solutions Inc., a consulting company with offices in Southfield, Mich., Phoenix, and Cincinnati, ( that develops mobile solutions for the enterprise.

In The Wireless Application Protocol, Mann and Sbihli paint with broad strokes. Written in a whitepaper flavor, the book touches on the architecture and history of WAP, the user experience, some basics on content development, a few brief profiles of enterprise applications, and a discussion of WAP's future.

Technically savvy readers won't find much new information in The Wireless Application Protocol. However, executives and managers who have little knowledge of wireless technologies but want to learn about the field will find a gentle introduction. Whether discussing various WAP client hardware products or the deck-of-cards nature of WAP application development, the authors merely skim the surface--making it quite a painless experience for nontechnical readers.

The book contains a reprint of the WAP's wireless markup specification. One must wonder why this specification was included in a nontechnical introduction, especially when it is available from the Wireless Application Protocol Forum's Web site. Perhaps it was tacked on to add bulk to the book--the specification covers 80 of its 224 pages--in the hopes that more pages would make it more appealing.

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