Easy-to-learn Curl 5.0 equips developers to create powerful RIAs
Curl up with a comfortable rich Internet application IDE
RIAs (rich Internet applications) are all the rage now, and for good reason: Given the wide availability of high-speed Internet service, they have the potential to combine the ease-of-access of Web applications with the ease-of-use of desktop applications. Curl, which is a programming language, an IDE, and a runtime engine, was actually ahead of its time back in 2003, when I wrote about Curl 2.0 for Byte.com. However, broadband access wasn't quite so widespread at the time, and the idea of RIAs didn't seem quite so compelling.
[ See also: InfoWorld Technology of the Year Awards Application Development winners | Screencast: Curl 5.0 ]
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The commercial Curl I'm writing about here needs to be distinguished from curl or cURL, the command line tool for transferring files with URL syntax, and the bindings for libcurl available for many languages. Curl was originally developed as an MIT research project; this is a spin-off from that project.
So why haven't you heard about Curl? Curl of Cambridge, Mass., was acquired by Sumisho Computer Systems of Japan in 2004, and Curl was primarily marketed in Japan until this spring.
With an 8MB runtime engine, Curl 5.0 falls near the middle of the range of rich Internet clients as far as "heaviness." It falls near the high end of the range when it comes to runtime performance. It has an impressive JIT (just-in-time) compiler with code caching and good support for graphics hardware. This is quite clear from some of the standard Curl demos and samples, especially the ones that demonstrate ray tracing.