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How does the MMS work?

Two consequent Thursdays we will present you excepts of Flat Rock newest research on “Publishing of Multimedia Messages Directly from the Phone to the Website” by Assistant Professor PhD eng. Nikolay Raychev, a senior PHP developer at Flat Rock Technology. He explains how the MMS works, what the MMS protocols are and how they are used, what SMIL is and who will benefit from the service.

How does the MMS work?

MMS is designed to offer wonderful opportunities for sending messages containing multimedia content such as images, sounds and videos.

When someone sends an MMS message, the message becomes immediately encoded. Then the phone connects to the WAP networks of the provider. When the phone sends an HTTP request for MMSC, the message is received via an HTTP POST method. The MMSC service is available at an HTTP address and sends an SMS to the recipient. This message is binary encoded and contains information about where the MMS message can be retrieved. The phone of the recipient signals if there is an MMS available and after that, you can use GPRS/WAP to download and see the message.

Its ability to integrate with other systems is one of the key functions of the multimedia system. In addition to sending multimedia messages to friends, the MMS can be used to send emails or see the weather forecast.

I developed a library with functions for receiving and decoding of MMS messages. Additionally, I developed an application that is performed by the library.

The project expands the possibilities of the multimedia because it allows for the initiation of new multimedia services on any server. The designed system lets the users upload images to websites in real time. In addition, it can execute commands on the server (restart, Wake-on-LAN, etc.), send cheap SMS messages (via a free Internet SMS service) or be used in online games. Some phones, however, are restricted from the telecom companies to send MMS messages only via MMSC.

There are many applications of this class and I have already planned its implementation in a new feature for social networks. The idea is to let the users upload images and text on the webpage with the help of the multimedia. The images can be uploaded in different galleries (private or public) depending on the recipient.

Receiving MMS via HTTP File Upload

My application technique uses HTTP POST to transmit the received MMS message content to a script file running on another web server. The HTTP POST format that is used is the same format for “HTTP File Upload” (multipart/form-data) from an HTML form, with particular considerations to make it easier to process the HTTP POST using the PHP scripting language. This technique is not specific to PHP, and I hope to provide examples for other scripting languages in the future.

When an MMS message is received, the system can be configured to perform an HTTP File Upload Post to a configurable URL.

File Upload Post to the System URL Submission format

An MMSText variable is not present in the HTTP File Upload Post. Any text parts of the MMS message will be posted as file components with a MIME type of “text/plain”.

The MMSFile variable is replaced by MMSFile[] in the HTTP File Upload Post in order to allow the variable to be processed as an array by PHP scripts.

PHP Processing of MMS HTTP File Upload

PHP provides built-in functionality for processing an HTTP File Upload.

Completing this process will vary based upon how you receive MMS messages.

You can download the full article for free and test the demo! For more information about the research project you can contact Flat Rock.

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