Volantis Who? - a UK Open Source Success Story

Guildford is not famous for being a hotbed of open source, but that's where the British open source company Volantis is based.

It's not as well known as it ought to be, probably because it sits astride the computing-mobile divide, helping mobile operators and others to display Web content on their devices.

Writing code that translates Web sites to mobiles isn't hard, but keeping up with the thousands of mobiles platforms is. Indeed, it's beyond the capabilities of a single company – which is where the free software comes in.

By opening up its software, Volantis lets anyone create the relevant bits of code needed for any given platform. If there's enough demand, someone will write it. As its Web site explains:

Since its launch in 2000, Volantis' vision has developed a standards-based approach to ensuring multi-channel delivery across PCs, wireless, TV and new IP-based devices. To date, the Company has invested over 300 man-years in research and development to make its "write once, run anywhere" approach to content delivery a reality.

Its key product here is the Volantis Mobility Server:

a java-based development and runtime platform, allowing web developers to build and run their own mobile Internet applications across over 5,900 devices.

It does through what it calls “connectors”. These:

integrate with a variety of dynamic content sources and Web 2.0 Internet services. Developers specify the connectors in their mobile sites by using simple XML markup tags, reducing the reliance on Java programming, automatically ingesting, transforming, bundling and optimizing content across all mobile devices.

Standard connectors can be combined to build "mash-up" mobile applications, integrating content from websites, databases, web services, XML documents and popular Web 2.0 services from online applications including Picasa, Flickr and Google Docs.

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