Click here to close now.


You will be redirected in 30 seconds or close now.

ColdFusion Authors: Yakov Fain, Maureen O'Gara, Nancy Y. Nee, Tad Anderson, Daniel Kaar

Related Topics: ColdFusion

ColdFusion: Article

WAP & ColdFusion: ColdFusion in WAP Architecture

WAP & ColdFusion: ColdFusion in WAP Architecture

The rapid expansion of wireless access technologies, the implantation of the Internet into all spheres of human activity, and the pressure of mobile communication markets - these factors represent the development of wireless services.

Standards for mobile communications have been developing rapidly in the last few years. The sequential appearance of analog (AMPS, NMT-450) and digital standards (GSM, D-AMPS, DCS), and their gradual movement to a universal standard, resulted in the formation of mobile communications companies all over the world. A new community of wireless subscribers is being created.

New services, like roaming and data transfer, formed the basis for the globalization of services provided. Mobile subscribers need data availability. This is now possible due to wireless applications that have been developed based on standards that are applicable for any type of wireless carrier.

It's impossible to overestimate the penetration of the Internet into all areas of human activity; it's become the environment of information distribution and storage. The Internet is also a fast-growing business media. During the past 10 years Internet technologies have progressed greatly. Now there are several typical solutions in the fields of access authorization, database publication, remote monitoring and Internet services integration to Web servers.

To save investments, developers want to get maximum usage and create new usage for existing technologies.

Market pressure is also a major influence. For example, there are more than 100 million Internet users, but the number of cellular network subscribers is more than double that number. Another example, the coefficient of penetration into the PC market (principal users of the Internet) is much lower than the one for cellular set owners - even in the U.S., a very computer-oriented country. So the Internet services and features that are required beyond the bounds of the Internet community already have a huge audience.

The wireless application protocol (WAP) specification is one of the main technologies in wireless applications - the software that's based on the specification. The main technology components are the WAP browser, WAP gateway and WAP server (in its turn, it may consist of HTTP, and application and database servers). A detailed description of all WAP-specification peculiarities is beyond the limits of the article.

  • WAP Browser: Usually it's a built-in wireless terminal, but in certain cases it may be executed as loaded software (Palm Pilot).
  • WAP Gateway: Used as an intermediary between the WAP client and the HTTP server, it adapts the data that's received by HTTP queries from the WAP server to specialties of transmission environment within the cellular communication network. Common restrictions to the environment are:
    - Connection instability
    - Considerable service activation time
    - Limited rate of data transmission to the cellular terminal
    - Limited memory of the cellular terminal
    - Limited calculating capacity of the cellular terminal
    - Limited possibilities of information and graphical representation on the cellular terminal
    - Truncated capacities of information input
    - WAP Server: Includes the HTTP server of the WML content, the database server, and the application server as a binder element.
Today, application servers are the standard solution in the development of Internet/intranet applications that provide basic functions of scalability, data protection and transparent access to databases. The products from Oracle, Sun and Allaire are the leaders in the market.

ColdFusion as a WAP Application Server
The basic requirements for the development of wireless application software are:

  • Development simplicity: The high dynamics of new services imply a simple method for their creation and modification. A program interface that allows developers to use their acquired skills when developing applications is also required.
  • Wide integration: Databases, Internet services, Web servers on the Net, and the phone services of cellular companies are indispensable for their dynamic content. The means for wide integration are contained in ColdFusion at the necessary level of tag development. A number of tags have already been created - some available free of charge. It's also possible to create tags independently. For example, to select and publish a recordset of two linked tables from the database, write some statements in CFML. To send this set as an e-mail, you need three more lines; to design the result as an XML set - one more line.
  • Interoperability: Usually reached by using a WAP compatible browser that can interpret WML v.1.1. With ColdFusion it's possible to adapt WML contents to a specific cellular terminal type. To carry this out, a user variable that stores data on a terminal and a microbrowser type are analyzed.
  • Independence on the cellular communication standard: Usually obtained by the WAP interface adjustment, it's an essential property of the WAP application.
  • Personalized user interface: The CF developer may personalize the data published on request. The various possibilities of customizing WML page generation relies on client variables.
  • Strong security: There are several levels of data protection. The basic ones are encoding and both database and application access control.
  • Portability: CF is available on all widespread hardware platforms. The software operates under Windows 95/98, Windows NT, Sun Solaris, HP UX, Linux and BSDI. There are also free versions of CF Express with limited functionality.
  • Flexibility and scalability: It should be easily scalable with many program interfaces such as CORBA, Java, JavaScript, Perl, VBScript, COM and DCOM. Existing methods of document generation allow you to use packages as an HTML contents source, as well as a WML contents source.
  • Price: CF version 4.5 costs $1,500, and doesn't depend on a concurrent number of users.

Wireless Application Sample Pilot by Peter Service, Ltd.
The scheme of a wireless application that demonstrates the main features of the ColdFusion application server is shown in Figure 1.

This approach is realized on and We used WAPLITE gateway from Infinity Technologies ( in the production mode for all our wireless solutions. Full-range WTLS-enabled applications for the corporate market are supported. In addition, WAPLITE gives the best solution for middle-sized wireless carriers worldwide.

A sample staff list from a wireless carrier involved in WAP is described below:

  • The manager marks data on the current number of cellular company subscribers using a WAP interface. This data modification should always be controlled.
  • The customer service employee enters the data into a specified DB table. After data has been marked, the session is terminated and the subscriber is transferred to waiting mode.
  • The CF application dispatcher starts up the tracking application (frequency is set by the user) that checks the parameter that indicates changes in the DB table. If the variance value exceeds the quantum specified, then a request-on-notification will be sent via three gateways - e-mail, HTML/SMS and HTML/pager.
After notification of receipt, the cellular terminal owner may reactivate the session and execute operations specified in the fixed list stored in the database: publish the parameter that was tracked on a public server, call up customer service, technical service, and more. Here the caller doesn't need to know the called numbers.

The application server may also appear as a mediation device that realizes the initial processing of Call Data Record (CDR) from the WAP gateway.

At last, all features that are related to displaying database contents on a cellular terminal may be published via the same Web server using practically the same application server modules.

Figure 2 shows a demo variant of a WAP interface for a cellular network subscriber that allows (after authorization) modification of the service status. Next to this one, a variant of a similar interface on a cellular communications operator's Web server is shown for comparison.

The CF application server realizes several integration levels:

  • Interaction with a WAP gateway on receipt of the CDR acting as a mediation device
  • Interaction with active regional wireless networks
  • Interaction with Internet services
  • Application for protection from unauthorized access
  • Establishing a session with a WAP terminal and access authorization
  • Establishing a session with a visitor who orders services in standard HTML using a standard Web browser.
Allaire's CF application server allows you to create new services for cellular communications operators and corporate customers, to scale these applications as well as adapt them to new conditions. It enables the wide integration that's required by wireless applications for cellular operators, public Internet services and service providers, and corporations.

More Stories By Sergey Ruseev

Sergey Ruseev is the Web project manager for Peter Service Ltd., a telecommunications
software development company in St. Petersburg, Russia. He has a BS in computer science
from the Leningrad Electrical Engineering Institute.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.

@ThingsExpo Stories
Too often with compelling new technologies market participants become overly enamored with that attractiveness of the technology and neglect underlying business drivers. This tendency, what some call the “newest shiny object syndrome,” is understandable given that virtually all of us are heavily engaged in technology. But it is also mistaken. Without concrete business cases driving its deployment, IoT, like many other technologies before it, will fade into obscurity.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Sandy Carter, IBM General Manager Cloud Ecosystem and Developers, and a Social Business Evangelist, will keynote at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Today air travel is a minefield of delays, hassles and customer disappointment. Airlines struggle to revitalize the experience. GE and M2Mi will demonstrate practical examples of how IoT solutions are helping airlines bring back personalization, reduce trip time and improve reliability. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Shyam Varan Nath, Principal Architect with GE, and Dr. Sarah Cooper, M2Mi's VP Business Development and Engineering, will explore the IoT cloud-based platform technologies driving this change including privacy controls, data transparency and integration of real time context w...
The IoT market is on track to hit $7.1 trillion in 2020. The reality is that only a handful of companies are ready for this massive demand. There are a lot of barriers, paint points, traps, and hidden roadblocks. How can we deal with these issues and challenges? The paradigm has changed. Old-style ad-hoc trial-and-error ways will certainly lead you to the dead end. What is mandatory is an overarching and adaptive approach to effectively handle the rapid changes and exponential growth.
There will be 20 billion IoT devices connected to the Internet soon. What if we could control these devices with our voice, mind, or gestures? What if we could teach these devices how to talk to each other? What if these devices could learn how to interact with us (and each other) to make our lives better? What if Jarvis was real? How can I gain these super powers? In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Chris Matthieu, co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, will show you!
Today’s connected world is moving from devices towards things, what this means is that by using increasingly low cost sensors embedded in devices we can create many new use cases. These span across use cases in cities, vehicles, home, offices, factories, retail environments, worksites, health, logistics, and health. These use cases rely on ubiquitous connectivity and generate massive amounts of data at scale. These technologies enable new business opportunities, ways to optimize and automate, along with new ways to engage with users.
The buzz continues for cloud, data analytics and the Internet of Things (IoT) and their collective impact across all industries. But a new conversation is emerging - how do companies use industry disruption and technology enablers to lead in markets undergoing change, uncertainty and ambiguity? Organizations of all sizes need to evolve and transform, often under massive pressure, as industry lines blur and merge and traditional business models are assaulted and turned upside down. In this new data-driven world, marketplaces reign supreme while interoperability, APIs and applications deliver un...
The Internet of Things (IoT) is growing rapidly by extending current technologies, products and networks. By 2020, Cisco estimates there will be 50 billion connected devices. Gartner has forecast revenues of over $300 billion, just to IoT suppliers. Now is the time to figure out how you’ll make money – not just create innovative products. With hundreds of new products and companies jumping into the IoT fray every month, there’s no shortage of innovation. Despite this, McKinsey/VisionMobile data shows "less than 10 percent of IoT developers are making enough to support a reasonably sized team....
Developing software for the Internet of Things (IoT) comes with its own set of challenges. Security, privacy, and unified standards are a few key issues. In addition, each IoT product is comprised of at least three separate application components: the software embedded in the device, the backend big-data service, and the mobile application for the end user's controls. Each component is developed by a different team, using different technologies and practices, and deployed to a different stack/target - this makes the integration of these separate pipelines and the coordination of software upd...
Mobile messaging has been a popular communication channel for more than 20 years. Finnish engineer Matti Makkonen invented the idea for SMS (Short Message Service) in 1984, making his vision a reality on December 3, 1992 by sending the first message ("Happy Christmas") from a PC to a cell phone. Since then, the technology has evolved immensely, from both a technology standpoint, and in our everyday uses for it. Originally used for person-to-person (P2P) communication, i.e., Sally sends a text message to Betty – mobile messaging now offers tremendous value to businesses for customer and empl...
"Matrix is an ambitious open standard and implementation that's set up to break down the fragmentation problems that exist in IP messaging and VoIP communication," explained John Woolf, Technical Evangelist at Matrix, in this interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
WebRTC converts the entire network into a ubiquitous communications cloud thereby connecting anytime, anywhere through any point. In his session at WebRTC Summit,, Mark Castleman, EIR at Bell Labs and Head of Future X Labs, will discuss how the transformational nature of communications is achieved through the democratizing force of WebRTC. WebRTC is doing for voice what HTML did for web content.
The IoT is upon us, but today’s databases, built on 30-year-old math, require multiple platforms to create a single solution. Data demands of the IoT require Big Data systems that can handle ingest, transactions and analytics concurrently adapting to varied situations as they occur, with speed at scale. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chad Jones, chief strategy officer at Deep Information Sciences, will look differently at IoT data so enterprises can fully leverage their IoT potential. He’ll share tips on how to speed up business initiatives, harness Big Data and remain one step ahead by apply...
Nowadays, a large number of sensors and devices are connected to the network. Leading-edge IoT technologies integrate various types of sensor data to create a new value for several business decision scenarios. The transparent cloud is a model of a new IoT emergence service platform. Many service providers store and access various types of sensor data in order to create and find out new business values by integrating such data.
The broad selection of hardware, the rapid evolution of operating systems and the time-to-market for mobile apps has been so rapid that new challenges for developers and engineers arise every day. Security, testing, hosting, and other metrics have to be considered through the process. In his session at Big Data Expo, Walter Maguire, Chief Field Technologist, HP Big Data Group, at Hewlett-Packard, will discuss the challenges faced by developers and a composite Big Data applications builder, focusing on how to help solve the problems that developers are continuously battling.
There are so many tools and techniques for data analytics that even for a data scientist the choices, possible systems, and even the types of data can be daunting. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Harrold, Global CTO for Big Data Solutions for EMC Corporation, will show how to perform a simple, but meaningful analysis of social sentiment data using freely available tools that take only minutes to download and install. Participants will get the download information, scripts, and complete end-to-end walkthrough of the analysis from start to finish. Participants will also be given the pract...
WebRTC services have already permeated corporate communications in the form of videoconferencing solutions. However, WebRTC has the potential of going beyond and catalyzing a new class of services providing more than calls with capabilities such as mass-scale real-time media broadcasting, enriched and augmented video, person-to-machine and machine-to-machine communications. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Luis Lopez, CEO of Kurento, will introduce the technologies required for implementing these ideas and some early experiments performed in the Kurento open source software community in areas ...
Internet of Things (IoT) will be a hybrid ecosystem of diverse devices and sensors collaborating with operational and enterprise systems to create the next big application. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Bramh Gupta, founder and CEO of, and Fred Yatzeck, principal architect leading product development at, discussed how choosing the right middleware and integration strategy from the get-go will enable IoT solution developers to adapt and grow with the industry, while at the same time reduce Time to Market (TTM) by using plug and play capabilities offered by a robust IoT ...
“In the past year we've seen a lot of stabilization of WebRTC. You can now use it in production with a far greater degree of certainty. A lot of the real developments in the past year have been in things like the data channel, which will enable a whole new type of application," explained Peter Dunkley, Technical Director at Acision, in this interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Through WebRTC, audio and video communications are being embedded more easily than ever into applications, helping carriers, enterprises and independent software vendors deliver greater functionality to their end users. With today’s business world increasingly focused on outcomes, users’ growing calls for ease of use, and businesses craving smarter, tighter integration, what’s the next step in delivering a richer, more immersive experience? That richer, more fully integrated experience comes about through a Communications Platform as a Service which allows for messaging, screen sharing, video...