Curl mounts Silverlight and AIR challenge
Open source RIA
Curl, the rich programming language specialist back from obscurity, is turning to open source to gain a foothold in rich internet applications (RIA).
The company, founded on MIT research and that burned through its cash during the last internet bubble leading to a $1.5m acquisition, has said it plans to open source the Curl libraries and web kit within weeks, and to integrate its run-time with Eclipse.
The next version of Curl, which currently supports Windows, Macintosh and Linux, will also offer a souped-up Windows look-and-feel, the company told The Register.
The move comes as nine-year-old Curl attempts to exploit the industry's current fascination with RIAs, and applications that run outside-the browser. Forrester Research claims 30 per cent of application developers are using RIA technologies.
Curl, though, is in the running against scads of AJAX- and scripting-based frameworks and Java architectures as well as Adobe's Integrated Runtime (AIR) and Microsoft's Silverlight.
Curl is fighting to stand out against Open Laszlo, NexaWeb Enterprise 2.0 and DOJO on the AJAX-based RIA front, while there's Altio Live, UltraLightClient and JavaFX for Java developers.
Of these, Silverlight and AIR - expected to be widely available by early 2008 - will compete most aggressively for RIA dollars.
Some analysts believe Curl could replicate its success in Japan and Korea by targeting the enterprise and building a following in the developer community.
Curl's strength lies in its ability to provide high levels of performance and secure online-offline transactions, unlike AJAX-based solutions, while AIR and Silverlight are unproven.
According to a recent Curl-sponsored survey from integrator Sonata Software, Curl beat Adobe and Microsoft on ease of design, ease of development and run-time performance. Sonata rated Curl on performance, scalability and built-in data analysis tools.
While Curl might get the analysts' nod and come top in taste-test challenges, developers look like they could simply go with what they know.
Microsoft developer Andrew Brust, chief technical architect at development shop Twenty Six, told El Reg that Curl doesn't impress him at all. "It's very fringe, given that it has its own programming language and no explicit support from Microsoft or the J2EE vendors.
"Demand [for RIAs] is starting, but it's still small, and this [Curl] is not helped by the fact that there are so many fringe stacks out there. That puts skill sets in short supply and makes the learning curve a risky investment."
Brust thinks Silverlight - being ported to Linux by a team of Novell-led developers - will change all that. "The UI is fantastic, the capabilities significant, the platform stable and portable, and the skill set, .NET, is tied in to a huge standard," he said.®
Lest we forget, .NET is a framework...I am unaware of any official standards for frameworks. What would be the point? Certainly you don't believe that the MS employee was trying to imply that .NET conformed to some official TCP/IP-like specification certified by IEEE. His word choice was a bit ambiguous and a little ironic (as you pointed out), but in all fairness, plenty of people use the word "standard" when they mean "broadly used or accepted."
I hate most of the same things about Microsoft that other people do, but .NET is not on that list. It's my experience that .NET gives companies the most bang for their buck. Today at work I wasted close to two hours waiting for my java app to compile, maven to build the ear, jboss to deploy the ear, etc....Over and over. I could have done it in 1/10th the time using the .NET tools. It's a strong framework with great tools and MS would be very, very foolish not to capitalize on its .NET reputation as it tries to compete with the flex/flash/AIR behemoth.
HTML is a standard
And thank you for bringing up the fact that HTML is a standard, which I assume was to illustrate the point that the most nasty, disgusting, terrible, pseudo-specifications some half-assed mad scientist came up with as a college prank can become a "standard", while truly good products may thrive without ever being called such.
@ Steven Hewittt
proceed to www.google.com, and type in the following, exactly as you see here:
define: technical standard
then click on "search".
the definition of "standard" within the IT sphere is rather formal. it is likely that .NET is the dominant methodology within the monoculture wherein you operate; this does not make .NET a standard.
furthermore, "widely adopted", "rich documentation", and "good community support" do not a standard make. the .NET framework is part of Microsoft's walled garden (porting efforts have been rather feeble so far, and have received ambivalent support from the MotherShip). Windows is also not a standard: even MS marketing reps wouldn't call Vista a standard.
WiFi is a standard. TCP/IP is a standard. HTML is a standard.
.NET is NOT a standard.
MS bashing has nothing to do with it, i just don't like FUD.