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Platform dedicated Markup Language (PML)

PRE-HISTORY


In process of developing and discussing my idea of the BEACON to be ON project, there appeared two different opinions about using technology for the User Interface. My original idea is to develop local applications for most popular mobile phones on the market and cover 70-90% of the target subscribers. Many people were agree and even had proposing that it will be quite enough to have a client for iPhone and Nokia’s S60. From other side – other group of people is considering to use HTML, thus we cover more target subscribers at once, but even more important is that we reduce initial development and do not have to trace all the changes of popular mobile platforms. Along with that, there was no firm desire from anybody to use Adobe Flash, as it’s considering as slow and resource consuming application.


Another point – popular ideas about moving software sells into area of service sells. I mean such discussions like thin client, on-line applications, online widgets, WEB applications and so on. So, there is a necessity to sell subscription on service, instead of selling local applications.



Considering these mentioned facts I got an idea of creating kind of special Markup Language and its Local Client, which will cover this market, where local applications are still used and considered as best alternative to bare and monotonous HTML.


IDEA


Let’s imagine that we have some Machine-to-Machine language, similar to HTML or XML, aiming not text and hyper-text for text browsers, but aiming description and programming scripts, application’s properties, hardware requirements and stuff like that. Even more, there is a special applications client (or background script, or engine), which is not an Internet Browser, but some environment for running applications. Meantime, this special client interpret original code in according to the exact platform properties (or even exact mobile terminal), which allowing to have proper representation of content.


Proper representation for exact device is based on the following principles:

  • General capabilities and limitations are set by Mobile OS Vendor for the Release, and optionally for sub-release.
  • In addition, the Vendor of exact mobile device can provide data of the exact series limitations, and optionally for exact model
  • Finally, there will be some partition in the Language itself, that producer of exact application can set additional rules (coefficients) to device performance and limitations, depending on a sort of content.


Thus we have some formalized parametric model of on-line redesign and fitting content and scripts (it’s for appointing the level of details and depth of calculations, in line with overall device’s limitations) and we almost only care of application, as it’s represented on Server.


Then let’s name this machine language as Platform dedicated Markup Language (PML), server of source information will be an PML Server and some application/engine, which interpret this language into User Interface will call as PML Client.


There is one example!


We are developer of local application for Smartphones, which providing analytic calculations for different markets and different account systems. Once we have decided, that HTML is too poor, to represent the results in nice and easy way. So, we are developing local application, which downloading some data from the Server in Internet. We are bit unhappy, that we have to maintain range of platforms (Apple, Symbian, Windows Mobile, BlackBerry, Android). The situation is getting even worse, as we have to permanently update our software for each release and sub-release of new system. Then even much worse – we have to develop different versions, depending on the screen of mobile terminal (320x240, 640x480, 800x480 and so on) for each (!) platform and then for each release of each platform!!! Finally, we have different users – one group prefer to use not so powerful smartphones (low CPU speed, minimal memory) but small, while another group prefer big smarphones (high CPU speed, max memory), but all these devices are running completely the same Operating System…


There is nice thing of migration to HTML and avoid all these troubles, but obviously we can’t maintain same quality of User Interface and even step in plain WEB market segment, where another leaders.


No alternatives, obviously!



However, if there is some PML language, which cares of devices/platforms, but not plain content, as HTML, XML and Flash (in fact) doing, then there is a great chance for us!

  • In our PML script we stating the application script itself and we create rules of interaction among PML Server and exact PML Client.
  • Then our PML Server has gradation of content, which dedicated in accordance to mobile terminal abilities. Some dependencies like small, medium or big logo – depending on the screen size; simple, regular or sophisticated calculation/render – depending on the CPU capabilities; and so on.
  • Finally, our PML Client (which is developed not by us!) is just interact with PML Server to get proper scripts and content and show best fit result on exact device (while we do nothing for reaching it!).


TARGET DEVELOPERS OF PML


You like the idea? Sounds good, right? Even if not care about sophisticated details, sure there are lot of developers want to have such alternative on the market.


But then you may ask – why someone should care for such a development? Why someone should care about some 3rd party developers convenient? It’s may be not obvious, but it’s most clear and firm partition of the idea, in fact!

§ First of all – trend to move from Applications’ selling to Services’ selling is very strong! It touches any IT area. So, whatever is appears to support this trend – will be met with storm of applause!

§ Another very important thing – fight of Mobile Platforms (Operating Systems). Then vendor of Mobile Platform, which provides this complete solution first and then developing this solution in the best way, will attract more applications developers!

§ In fact, more subscribers too, as such service is analogue of WEB applications but with much better User Interface and with a potential be cheaper than classic applications (as cost of application’s developer for PML is much less than maintaining separate applications for each Platform).

§ Then more global value – fight of Telecom Vendors and Telecom Operators with plain WEB services like Google, FaceBook, Twitter, Skype and similar. There is still founding the way of how to turn Operators from being pipe for WEB services to owners of similar services. So, the benefits of optimization, like Cost Reduction / Perfect User Interface / New Model of On-Line Applications can turn Mobile Users from their services and solutions, which are good on PC, but not so well on Mobile Device. More details of controversy PC and Mobile Phone are in my article - PDA/Smartphone – benefits of limiting factors.


COMPETITIVE LANDSCAPE and ADDITIONAL BENEFITS


  • HTML – not really dedicated to deal with properties of mobile device; poor in graphic; weak in programming and no cost-effective interaction with local applications.
  • JAVA – good in programming, but really not a complete solution for Selling Services. Somehow it leads to almost same as developing set of applications for each Mobile Platform.
  • ADOBE FLASH – almost nice solution, but with some limitations, yet. First of all – Flash is for graphic purpose and not so reach in managing background scripts and routines. Second thing – Flash is still content oriented technology (same as plain HTML) thus it’s more about care for quality of source data, than care about – how good it will play on exact device.


Even if mentioned competitors are step in for developing alternative PML, then there are still unbeatable benefits for Telecom Operators!

  • Possibility to compress this Machine-to-Machine language and thus save OPEX.
  • Possibility to assign this traffic as internal and offer this cheaper than generic Internet Access.
  • Increase security, as this PML is source for PML Client only and not a plain open WEB, full of viruses, spam and similar things.
  • Compete with popular WEB services in area of Mobile Devices, as this unique combination of technology and User Interface is bringing best offer for Mobile Users, than something via plain HTML.



RESUME


Now we have to make some certain conclusions about – who to develop this new language and overall solution.

  • Most obvious candidates are ADOBE and Google. First one can fight that way for strengthening its Flash technology, the second one is to promote its Mobile Operating Systems and strengthening usage/popularity of WEB services for Mobile Devices.
  • Then this business can be valuable to any other Mobile Operating System developer. Plain competitive benefit. Especially valid for Apple, as they really know not only the OS, but exact device capabilities, which supplying together with OS. Others can start this development to beat Apple.
  • Particular interest can be on Mobile Devices’ Developers side. Sure, that HTC, Nokia, Sony-Ericsson, Samsung, RIM are willing to offer something unique and go far beyond competitors.
  • Last group – Telecom Vendors. Sure, if they (or one of them) will develop some complete solution for Operators, that will be a very popular thing! The thing which causes, by the way, sells of Mobile Devices, IN/VAS Platforms, OSS and Software Tools of that Vendor.
  • Finally, I think that Microsoft can step in it. Software and WEB is their natural business, but such solution can drastically change their weak positions with Windows Mobile.


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