Have you ever dreamt of carrying a personal web site to which a PC browser can connect to in your pocket? Nokia have an Open Source project called Mobile Web Server (MWS) which includes a Symbian port of the Apache web server as well as a gateway solution that enables HTTP traffic to a mobile device from the Internet. This combination will run a web server on your phone which can be accessed either from a browser on the phone itself, or by use of the special gateway, from any browser on the Internet. The gateway is required to circumvent the NAT/Firewalled mobile phones; they connect and authenticate to the gateway and set up DNS to allow a client on the Internet to connect to the Mobile Web Server. Mobile Web Server Before starting, it is important to realize that the owner of the phone’s SIM card foots the bill for all connections, also incoming connections. If you plan to run this over a period of time, be warned that you’d be better off with an unlimited data plan for your phone, or at lease one which has a high included data volume. According to Nokia, there are a number of good reasons as well as some tricky issues to solve when running a web server on a phone. As to the former, I could imagine querying calendars of travelling salesmen or perhaps querying the phone to determine their locations, whereas battery life and data cost certainly belongs to the latter category. The software, named Raccoon is available for download as a bundle which includes Python for S60. I installed the bundle on my Nokia N70 via Nokia’s PC Suite and applied for a gateway account which was enabled after just a few hours; the return mail contained username and password as well as instructions on how to set those up. While waiting for my gateway account, I launched Raccoon without the connector and pointed the phone’s browser to the Apache server hosted by itself, entering as a URL; I was promptly greeted by a familiar looking page, on which the capabilities of the Mobile Web Server can be tested. Before continuing, I enabled a user in the users file located in C:/data/apache/conf/ directory on the phone and added a user with a password. This can be done either through the Nokia PC suite or by installing pyEdit for S60, and adding a line to the file formatted as username:password. Beware that these credentials will later travel in clear text over the network. As soon as I got my gateway access, I relaunched the server with the connector: Raccoon running I could then access the Mobile Web Server over the Internet (shown here from a BlackBerry device) by entering the URL of the gateway server. Nokia issues URLs as username.domain- at-openlaboratory.net. The full URL is specified in the message returned from requesting a gateway account. Welcome Some of the concept demos are quite powerful. This screen shot shows some of the available ones Menu I can access my contacts from a web browser. First an (unsorted) list is displayed, and my own card shows up as PAB Sending a message also works. It is submitted directly into the phone’s inbox. The message submission form is simple enough Message and the phone then displays it in its usual inbox viewer Message When Raccoon is shut down, the owner can set an “out of office” message which is displayed by the gateway server when my personal Raccoon installation is unavailable; either because I’ve shut it down, or because my phone is out of coverage. There are currently two Cool solutions on the wiki; Raccoon On a Map shows a mashup of Raccoon users’ location and Contacts Browser Plugin is a browser plug-in which lets you remote control your phone from a PC web browser. Raccoon ffox All in all, the software is a powerful demonstration of the most utilized Open Source web server (Apache) running on Symbian phones. The wiki has some information on how to customize your mobile site, whereby most of the information can be taken from the Apache documentation. An impressive list of Apache modules has been included in Raccoon, although some of them need enabling before use as they are currently disabled. Before starting, I recommend you check the FAQ which might answer some of your questions.

BlackBerry, Apache, DNS, and Mobile :: 03 May 2007 :: e-mail