Configuring Apache Page 4

By and large, the Web server doesn't need much tweaking to deliver WML pages to a wireless device. As far as Apache is concerned, it needs only to know how to recognize the MIME type of the file, based on the file's file name extension. Apache will pass this MIME type to the receiving browser and, assuming the browser knows WML, it will know what to do with a WML type file.

Recent versions of Apache can be entirely configured through the file httpd.conf, which is typically located in the apache/conf/ directory, wherever Apache is installed on the server. If you open httpd.conf in a text editor, you can scroll through and view the many, many Apache configuration directives. Ultimately, you will find a section where MIME types are declared. In the default Apache httpd.conf file, this section begins as follows (though it may vary slightly depending on the installation):

# AddType allows you to tweak mime.types without actually editing it, or to
# make certain files to be certain types.
# For example, the PHP3 module (not part of the Apache distribution)
# will typically use:
#AddType application/x-httpd-php3 .phtml
#AddType application/x-httpd-php3-source .phps

AddType application/x-tar .tgz

While not strictly necessary, this is a good and logical place to add WML types to Apache. So, we simply pasted the following lines to our httpd.conf file just after the last line above:

#WML/WAP types
AddType text/vnd.wap.wml .wml
AddType application/vnd.wap.wmlc .wmlc
AddType text/vnd.wap.wmlscript .wmls
AddType application/vnd.wap.wmlscriptc .wmlsc
AddType image/vnd.wap.wbmp .wbmp

The basic WML file is delivered to the browser with MIME type text/vnd.wap.wml. In the statement above, we have told Apache to delivery this MIME type whenever the filename ends in the extension .wml. Similarly, appropriate MIME types are passed for other WML variants. The .wmlc files would be compressed WML files, while .wmls and .wmlsc represent WMLScript (a wireless scripting language) and compressed WMLScript, respectively. Furthermore, .wbmp files represent wireless bitmap files or WBMP, the graphic format that wireless devices support (as opposed to, for example, .gif or .jpg on desktop browsers).

Changes to the Apache httpd.conf file take effect only when the server is launched, so the server must be restarted to save the above changes for the new MIME types to apply. Once done though, Apache is ready to go, and will happily deliver WML and related files to a wireless device.

This article was originally published on Jul 16, 2000

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