Curl Re-Emerges at Web 2.0
April 24, 2007 Alex Woodie
Curl unfurled its second act at the Web 2.0 conference last week in San Francisco. The New England scripting language developer–which was once touted by AMR Research‘s Bruce Richardson as developing suitable “preservation” technology for the AS/400–is rebranding its language as a Rich Internet Application (RIA) platform for service oriented architecture (SOA) interfaces.
Curl was originally created at MIT as a class project for the U.S. government’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Twelve students and scientists involved in the project, led by computer scientist Stephen Ward, Michael Dertouzos (the late director of the MIT computer science lab), and Timothy Berners-Lee (the creator of the Web), founded Curl in 1998 to commercialize the technology they had developed.
With Curl 5.0, the company is hoping to capitalize on the drive to build richer-looking and more sophisticated Web applications. The company has updated the compilers, the browser-based runtime environment, and the IDE to take advantage of the latest updates to the language.
The company is touting several key features of Curl 5.0. These include new controls, such as TabAccordion, GroupBox, SpinControl, and others; new drag-and-drop editing capabilities for menus, charts, and diagrams (in addition to the previously supported basic set of containers and controls); and better enterprise scalability through a new profiler tool for analyzing application performance, a monitoring tool for observing HTTP traffic, and a direct interface from the IDE to source-code control systems.
Curl is banking on its languages’ performance to give it an edge over other RIA technologies. Support for extremely large data sets, rapid graphics rendering, and extensive off-line capabilities were touted as Curl advantages by one IT analyst.
Curl’s chief strategy officer, Jnan Dash, asks customers to give Curl a shot if they’re not happy with their Web application performance. “Many enterprises are dissatisfied with the high cost of ownership and limited reach of their current client-server applications,” Dash says. “We realized this market gap and provide a scalable platform that supports a rich user experience and easily integrates into the enterprise.”
With only 300 customers, Curl has a ways to go before seriously challenging the open-source languages, such as PHP. But it could be just the ticket for highly targeted inhouse development efforts.