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Chapter 2. SyncML: An Introduction > From an Initiative to a De Facto Standard

From an Initiative to a De Facto Standard

SyncML is intended to be a primary mobile application enabler beyond simple Internet access from mobile devices. It is intended to enable data synchronization between a diverse set of computing devices, including mobile handheld devices, mobile phones, personal computers, and network servers. It is designed to be transport agnostic and extensible such that it can work with a variety of network transports. It is designed to accommodate emerging data standards. It is anticipated to span application domains from personal information management applications to mobile business applications.

One key element of SyncML is that it is a message-based specification. Message-based specifications have been successful in client-server and distributed systems. Standards and technologies, such as Component Object Request Broker (CORBA) [Bol01], RMI, and Distributed Component Object Model (DCOM) [Roc98], that depend on acceptance of a particular programming interface have not been widely adopted beyond limited domains. Since SyncML is message-based, it allows platforms such as mobile phones to maintain their proprietary nature and still interoperate with diverse server computers and diverse applications. Another key element of SyncML is the conscious allowance for differentiation. SyncML does not attempt to standardize the functions of synchronization engines that capture diverse application semantics, realizing that it is harmful for application growth and is ultimately not a tractable problem.


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