Discussions

News: Volantis Mobility Server available as free download

  1. Volantis has announced that they have made the Volantis Mobility Server available as a free download as the Volantis Mobility Server Community Edition, with a plan to release it under the GPL 3.0 in the first quarter of 2008. Mobility Server provides rendering support for thousands of devices, adapting the Internet for mobile devices and optimizing content for viewing on any device. From the press release:
    Volantis’ decision to offer the Volantis Mobility Server under licensing terms favorable to the enterprise audience comes as the industry is at a crossroads. Traditional pricing models work well for Volantis’ established customer base, which includes leading telecommunications providers and partners. These customers require support that is covered by the initial software purchase price. However, a vast pool of companies will benefit from Volantis’ technology if it is priced for occasional support and additional added features, a licensing model represented by the free download and the open source Volantis Mobility Server. In addition, Volantis is excited to let the developer community enhance and build upon its work. The company has long contributed to a community standards process, driven by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), to create the Device Independent Authoring Language (DIAL) specification. Web development markup languages that comply with the DIAL specification, such as Volantis-created XDIME, can be used interchangeably to create content viewable on any mobile device. Given the maturity of the Volantis platform, the company felt the timing was right to offer its product to the community.
    The Volantis Mobility Server, both as a free download and, ultimately, an open source product, includes all the features necessary to deliver corporate content to mobile phones, including:
    • a multi channel server, which automatically adapts web markup for mobile and other devices
    • the XDIME markup interpreter, which implements the emergent DIAL standard
    • development tools, delivered as plugins to the Eclipse open source developers toolkit
    • a client side mobile AJAX widget library
    • a device database, providing information necessary to render content for specific devices, and including information about more than 4000 devices.
    Volantis Mobility Server, Community Edition looks like it's designed to compete with WURFL in terms of containing information, and it also provides a consistent rendering mechanism (where WURFL uses tags or properties to manage rendering to specific device capabilities.) What do you think of the project and its capabilities? Mobile rendering so far has been a bit of a Gordian knot, from the looks of it; do you think something like Volantis or WURFL can help address the issue of rendering content on mobile devices?
  2. I started working at Volantis about 6 months after its inception in 2000. At this time the core concepts and ideas behind what is now the Volantis Mobility Server (VMS) were well established and these core concepts and ideas remain at the heart of product today. I am referring principally to the notions of separating presentation from content such that presentation of the content matches device capabilities and tailoring page markup for the requesting device. By the time I joined there was already an hierarchical device repository encapsulating a fallback approach. In this device repository new devices essentially specialize existing devices and override properties (or policies in our terminology) as necessary. Generic devices such as "Mobile", "Handset", "Kiosk", "PC" and the root "Master" exist as virtual devices from which more specialized virtual devices and ultimately real devices inherit common policy values. A similar fallback mechanism is also available for content selection and for selection of the appropriate presentational layout and theme (style) for the requesting device. WURFL I think was developed completely independently perhaps in parallel and slightly later than the creation of the Volantis device repository and surrounding software (at least judging from the Wikipedia entry). As far as I know there was never any intention to compete with WURFL on our part. In addition the main (though not the only) focus of the overall WURFL project seems to be the device configuration file whereas the Volantis device repository is one part of a suite of tools and technologies designed to enable developers to create dynamic and compelling web sites for the mobile web. (I do not want to take anything away from WURFL or to make any disparaging remark. In my view WURFL is a highly commendable project that has been a great benefit to the advancement of the mobile web.) Can Volantis Mobility Server help address the issue of rendering? - in short yes. VMS is deployed by major operators around the world - take a look at our customer list and it has been and continues to be highly successful. Take a look on your mobile at the following sites both of which have VMS at their core: http://wap.wwe.com and http://cbs.volantis.net to see a couple of current examples of VMS helping to address the issue of rendering on multiple mobile devices. Of course you can now try out VMS for yourself by downloading the free binary. Docs are included as well as online docs, help and forums to get you up and running: http://community.volantis.com Disclaimer: though I work for Volantis my views and opinions do not necessarily reflect the views of the company and are in no way meant to be representative of the company.
  3. Well done to the team at Volantis .... this looks great. PJ Murray, CodeFutures Software Data Access Objects and Service Data Objects