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Curl RIA tools hook up to Eclipse framework

Like some rock stars, Curl is big in Japan but still seeking traction among U.S. developers. A new version of Curl moves its rich Internet application (RIA) tools to Eclipse.

Rich Internet application (RIA) vendor Curl, Inc. today announced the completion of its migration to Eclipse. Curl Development tools for Eclipse (CDE) is aimed at U.S. developers who have a preference for the popular Eclipse development environment, said Jnan Dash, chief strategy officer.

I built the same thing in DB2 35 years ago with caching, so we are kind of back to the future here.
Jnan Dash
chief strategy officerCurl, Inc.

The move is part of the Cambridge, Mass.-based vendor's strategy to expand use of Curl technology. Developed at MIT, the Curl interface technology has had some success in Japan where it was adopted by banks and other businesses looking to move legacy client/server technology to the Web. Curl customers include Hitachi Displays, Nissan Diesel Motor, The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi, Daido Life Insurance Company and Mitsui Oil.

Designed for high-volume business transaction processing rather than consumer applications such as video downloads, the Curl RIA platform was first released in the U.S. in 2002, just in time for the bust. It must now compete with Flash, Silverlight, Ajax, and traditional client interfaces.

Because Curl downloads the runtime onto the user's PC and is then quarantined in a sandbox so spyware cannot reach out into the operating system, it provides a level of security that is not available with Ajax, claimed Richard Monson-Haefel, Curl's vice president of developer relations. This makes the Curl approach suitable for Web-based customer service applications in the financial industry, he said. In Japan, it is being used to allow banking customers to run analysis applications on their accounts, said Monson-Haefel.

While RIA and Ajax are the latest trends in Web application development, Dash, who worked for IBM back when CICS and DB2 were hot new technologies, said there is nothing new about the concept. Downloading the runtime to the desktop device to lighten the load on the backend server, harkens back to the development of the stored procedure call for client/server and earlier mainframe caching, in Dash's view.

The basic concept is to reduce the number of roundtrips between the client and the server.

"I built the same thing in DB2 35 years ago with caching," Dash recalled. "So we are kind of back to the future here."

Curl's experience in Japan indicates that cost savings result from lightening the server load with RIA that puts processing on the client, he said.

"The question is, if I shift the load - if I shift a lot of computing to the client - then I reduce the number of roundtrips," Dash said. "That puts less pressure on the server. If I had 14 servers, I can reduce it to six servers. So there are savings."

The new Eclipse version of the Curl development environment includes:

  • Integration into the Eclipse debugger as well as the Eclipse workspace for Curl projects and preferences, and documentation
  • VLE extension editor, profiler, code coverage, class browser, inspector
  • Hypertext Transfer Protocol Overview (HTTP) monitor

The CDE is available for Windows, Linux and Eclipse 3.3 and 3.4 SDKs or any Eclipse-based IDE based on Eclipse 3.3 and 3.4.

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Dash said that the new Eclipse version will co-exist with the original Curl development environment for a time, but the company intends to eventually move exclusively to Eclipse.

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