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Method to support message based application at the server side

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000013961D
Original Publication Date: 2001-Apr-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2003-Jun-19
Document File: 2 page(s) / 62K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Abstract

As an add-on function of GSM, short message (SMS) provides a convenient and economical way to exchange data information between peer GSM mobile phones or phone and SMS center. Though initially designed for people to exchange messages, with its large user base, it would be wonderful if SMS can be a channel to query database or do transaction. Similar messaging function can be found in other type of wireless communication protocol. Comparing to the emerging WAP (Wireless Application Protocol) which is widely regarded as a promising channel to deliver Internet content and business transaction, GSM SMS user base is far more bigger than that of WAP. However, SMS has its own limitations also. SMS based solution tends to rely on vendor specific phone set or SMS center protocol. There isn't a clear cut application programming model that separates application logic from these vendor specific details; Application programmer has to take care of the performance and scalability issues; And its programming model does not fit into any well-known network computing framework. These make SMS based solution proprietary and expensive. When using SMS as a 2-way communication channel, normal programming methods usually couple the application logic and the vendor specific communication modules, not matter it is the mobile phone set or protocol that links to the SMS center. Its typical workflow is:

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Method to support message based application at the server side

        As an add-on function of GSM, short message (SMS) provides a convenient and economical way to exchange data information between peer GSM mobile phones or phone and SMS center. Though initially designed for people to exchange messages, with its large user base, it would be wonderful if SMS can be a channel to query database or do transaction. Similar messaging function can be found in other type of wireless communication protocol.

     Comparing to the emerging WAP (Wireless Application Protocol) which is widely regarded as a promising channel to deliver Internet content and business transaction, GSM SMS user base is far more bigger than that of WAP.

     However, SMS has its own limitations also. SMS based solution tends to rely on vendor specific phone set or SMS center protocol. There isn't a clear cut application programming model that separates application logic from these vendor specific details; Application programmer has to take care of the performance and scalability issues; And its programming model does not fit into any well-known network computing framework. These make SMS based solution proprietary and expensive.

     When using SMS as a 2-way communication channel, normal programming methods usually couple the application logic and the vendor specific communication modules, not matter it is the mobile phone set or protocol that links to the SMS center. Its typical workflow is:
a. application initializes the communication port, and waits for incoming SMS messages.
b. when a SMS message arrives, the application will pick up the message and process it as defined by the application logic.
c. optionally, send response to the requesting mobile phone via SMS.
d. wait for another message. Note that all steps have vendor specific mobile phone or SMS center features, thus rely on products from the vendor. As they rely on vendor specific features, the application logic tends to have no much choices on programming language, operating system and etc. Also application logic has to take care about the multithread issues just like the communication modules which in turn make the application logic even more complex to develop and debug. As application logic is coupled with communication modules, it is quite difficult to do load balance, reliability or scalability features. While these features definitely a must to serve millions of SMS users.

     A new method is proposed to support message base (e.g., SMS) based application at the server side. The method separates vendor specific details from the application logic, and makes the message based application a native extension to IBM's e-business application framework (eBAF).

     Method proposed here decouples the application logic and the vendor specific modules. This time any vendor specific features are wrapped in the...