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HGML - Phase 1

Lead investigator: Dr Steven M Furnell
Other researchers: Dr Paul Haskell-Dowland, Dr Michael Evans, Dr Andy Phippen
Project duration: 1997 - 1998
Funding source: Orange

Mobile access to the World Wide Web (WWW) is now technically feasible via cellular communications equipment and other wireless technologies. However, the usability of the resulting service is limited by the fact that much web content is represented in graphical form, which requires significant bandwidth and impedes downloading over the wireless medium.

In collaboration with Orange, members of the Network Research Group designed the Hyper Graphics Markup Language (HGML), providing a graphically-oriented alternative to HTML specifically designed for use in wireless contexts. HGML is highly optimised for use in conjunction with narrow-bandwidth channels between client and server. It offers three key features that enable it to reduce / replace the use of conventional bitmap images in WWW pages : namely drawing primitives, pre-stored image themes and image manipulation.

The implementation of and findings from a prototype implementation indicated that the HGML approach can deliver dramatic savings on both overall file size and download time when contrasted with a traditional HTML approach. A W3C Note on was submitted at the conclusion of the feasibility project.

HGML - Phase 1 (1997 - 1998)