Distinguishing these companies are other factors, such as Curl's required client-side language and hefty fat-client download, making it difficult for developers to hit the ground running and potentially limiting its usability outside of b-to-b scenarios.
But with that learning curve and overhead come some solid features, including a decently provisioned IDE and security model implementation, as well as good support for XML, multiple media delivery types, and compression capabilities that extend Curl's range of usefulness.
Altio is currently in beta with a forthcoming release of its AltioLive platform, slated to improve Web services integration and device-delivery offerings.
The specific direction these richer, browser-based applications will take remains to be seen. This inaugural wave of vendors is clearly struggling to conceive platforms with enough value potential to entice enterprise-grade customers to fork over hard-earned budgetary dollars.
For the large number of companies that spent the late '90s invested in retrofitting Web front-ends onto their enterprise applications, the dubious value proposition may appear to overshadow the merits.
Admittedly, many of the capabilities from today's innovators may ultimately take root directly within next-generation Web browsers, or they may be embedded natively within operating systems and application servers.
The risk reward here, though, is favorable. And in due course the capabilities coming to the forefront of rich Internet application development portend great promise for improving the sophistication and interaction in data and security-laden transactions.
By maintaining a focus on important features, such as an interdependence on XML, adoption of Web services and workflow mechanisms, and a moderate learning curve for developers, rich Internet application vendors will ensure bonding with corporate IT ideals and enable developers to bring to market more useful applications in less time.