Mobility

Nokia Mobile Internet Toolkit 3.1 eases burden of writing MMS applications

Nokia Mobile Internet Toolkit 3.1 offers some great advantages for building Multimedia Messaging Service-based apps, including a variety of phone model plug-ins. But it has a few shortcomings too--such as a lack of support for UNIX or Linux.


Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS)-based services are expected to provide huge opportunity for developers and operators with the availability of 2.5G and 3G mobile wireless networks. For developers seeking a development and PC-based testing and simulation environment for building MMS applications, Nokia has released the next version of its Mobile Internet Toolkit, version 3.1.

Building on the previous version
The free toolkit builds on its predecessor, Mobile Internet Toolkit 3.0, providing support for MMS and WAP 2.0 technologies, including Extensible HTML (xHTML) mobile profile and cascading style sheets (CSS). All the applications you built using Toolkit 3.0 should work with the new version. Toolkits prior to 3.1 will no longer be available for download from the Nokia Forum Web site. According to Nokia sources, the company will still provide technical assistance for developing content using previous versions of Mobile Internet Toolkit if you need it. However, Nokia strongly recommends that users download the new version.

The new toolkit aims to provide end-to-end development and deployment solutions. You can download the simulators as separate plug-ins from the Nokia Forum site. You can use the simulators to preview applications based on WAP and MMS for different commercially available Nokia phones, including 6590, 8310/8390, 3330/3395, 6210, and 7110 models. To view MMS messages, you’ll have to download the 6590 simulator, which also supports xHTML Mobile Profile and Compact HyperText Markup Language (CHTML).

The Mobile Browser v3.0.1 simulator, which comes as a part of the default installation, supports WAP 2.0 markup language specifications and therefore can be used to test such applications. Alternatively, you can download the 6590 simulator and use it for WAP 2.0 applications.

Mobile Internet Toolkit, in combination with the individually downloadable Nokia phone simulators, eliminates the need for different handsets and carrier infrastructure for creating and testing mobile Internet applications. Developers can either use the built-in Nokia WAP server (limited edition) or access applications from any Web server via HTTP. Applications can also be stored locally on the PC and directly queried.

Key features
Let's run through some of the most significant features of Mobile Internet Toolkit 3.1.
  • The toolkit includes editors for editing xHTML (Mobile Profile and Mobile Profile + CHTML), MMS and Synchronized Multimedia Internet Language (SMIL), CSS, WML (and WML script, WBMP), and Push content (SI, SL, CO). The WBMP editor includes support for converting GIF or JPEG files to WBMP files.
  • The toolkit adds support for editing and autogenerating SMIL content, which essentially contains the instructions for presentation of multimedia content in an MMS message. Not all Nokia MMS phones support SMIL, and you won't be able to use SMIL files with simulators such as the 6590 and the 3510.
  • The adjustable display size of the Nokia mobile browser reference implementation is useful for prototyping applications on different sizes of mobile phones.
  • Document Type Definition (DTD) Manager assists with the registration of a new DTD and deletion or upgrade of an existing DTD.
  • The toolkit offers multiple debug views and a new cookie view, which enables examination of cookies stored in the memory. The session view lists all the requests made and responses received during a browsing session. The Wireless Transport Layer Security (WTLS) view provides information about the security elements involved in a transaction between user agent (mobile device) and secure server. The log view reports all the activities taking place in the toolkit. One of the nice things with this view is that you can control the extent of the logging.
  • The toolkit offers support for WIM card (next-generation SIM cards with enhanced security features, such as encryption, PKI, and digital signatures) and SoftId (software emulation of WIM).
  • The toolkit offers support for WTLS class 1, 2, 3 (with SoftId).
  • The built-in Nokia Mobile Browser 3.0.1 simulator has support for xHTML mobile profile, CSS, WML 1.x, and CHTML You should be able to test most of your applications using this WAP 2.0-compliant simulator, except for MMS applications.

For a more detailed look at the features, you can check out Nokia’s product data sheet.

Getting a handle on the interface
The following screen shots will give you a taste of the toolkit GUI, as well as the 6590 simulator. Figure A shows the available content types, such as CSS and WML. You can browse them in the tab format.

Figure A
Browsing content types


Figure B shows the resizable display, which you can use to test most of the applications for different display sizes. This feature is part of the default installation.

Figure B
Resizable display


Figure C shows the 6590 simulator, which you can download to preview MMS messages.

Figure C
6590 simulator


The downside
The toolkit is available only for a Windows platform right now, and a Java Runtime Environment (1.3.1) is required to run the application. Despite the fact that the application is Java-based, it still doesn’t run on UNIX or Linux. Simulators downloaded for WAP Toolkit v2.1 or Mobile Internet Toolkit 3.0 will not work with this toolkit, so new simulators will have to be downloaded from the Nokia Forum site. WAP 2.0 specifications related to TCP/IP connectivity are not currently supported.

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