Wap site links graduates

Nicholas Enticknap

From September, graduates of the University of Buckingham will be able to access their alumni Web site using mobile phones. The university's IT department is testing a Wap variant of its Internet site.

The new site will be completely separate from the existing site, with its own URL. The user interface has been written using WML (Wireless Markup Language). The server functionality is based on Microsoft's ASP (Active Server Pages) technology and is written using VBScript and Javascript. It contains "almost the whole functionality" of the main HTML site, said the university's head of IT James Henderson.

The site allows alumni to take part in Web discussions, update their own contact details and access those of others. "It is important for them to keep in touch," said Henderson, especially as over two-thirds of alumni come from abroad.

Wap phones only reached the market earlier this year, and analysts are divided on their likely popularity. It is estimated there are about 150,000 in use in the UK. But Henderson is in no doubt, "My instinct is that Wap will take off big," he said.

After e-mailing 300 of his students on a Friday asking them to take part in trials, the first response, from Singapore, came back within 20 seconds, and by Monday morning he had received over 100 replies.

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This was first published in August 2000


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