Friday, May 14, 2004

Curl - A new language to speed up the Web

CURl -- the new prog lang for the web./......
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"Curl - A new language to speed up the Web

For all its benefits, the Web is still pretty cumbersome to use. Limited bandwidth, imperfect software, and poor site design all contribute to slow Web performance. Efforts to push the actual processing of code back down to the client are nothing new, but the people at Curl Corp. insist they've built the best solution. And this company has the high-tech credentials to back up its claims.




A faster, cheaper, richer Web

Curl believes it has come up with a language that'll allow the Web to be faster, cheaper, and richer. Curl sought to design a programming language specifically for the Web that would do everything HTML, Java, C++, and other languages could do, but all in a single architecture. The result is an object-oriented, platform independent, scriptable “content language” (because it's not just for programming).




In an easy to learn language

Curl's Technology Evangelist Brent Young says Curl is as easy to learn as HTML, but has the power, robustness, and extensibility of Java or C++. The language features a complete “debugging environment with breakpoints, a source editor, and API viewer which executes code in exactly the same manner in both browsers”.

Curl claims that its technology can reduce the amount of code underlying a given website (specifically, the byte size of the files required to render a page and interact with a user) anywhere from 50 to 90 percent when compared to HTML - an important consideration given the cost of bandwidth. Curl code - which Young says is “cleaner” on both the client side and the server side than HTML or Java code - is compiled on a user's computer instead of at the server.




Example: A stock options calculator

One of Curl's demo Web applications is a stock options calculator for a large online financial institution. Customers can run “what if” scenarios on their stock options (if my company's stock price rises to $50, how much money do I stand to make on my options?) and the tool automatically calculates changes - on the client side - and displays them in a series of graphs. Company officials say that since Curl is the first “real” programming language designed specifically for the Web, it won't experience performance problems that plague existing Web technologies like HTML and JavaScript (which Curl contends aren't really full-fledged programming languages) or other programming languages that have been retrofitted for the Web (C, C++, Java, Perl, or Python).




The product line - for free

Curl's product line, Curl Surge (a browser plug-in allowing users to view “Curled” content) and Curl Surge Lab (an open-source platform and programming language for Web developers) are both available free online. Curl is targeting its technology at financial services, entertainment, publishing, and hospitality companies, all of which must bear heavy user demand on their Web servers. The technology employs a metering system to track the amount of “Curled” data a given site sends to its users - and Curl charges the content provider accordingly.




And they're off...!

Programmers are notoriously finicky about the languages they use to make their living, but Curl took the plunge in an effort to convince doubters that there is a better solution. Still, it is unlikely that Curl will replace the existing programming languages used on the Web. But if pedigree is still worth anything in the world of high tech, the company's new language should win a few converts. More than 2,000 enterprises tested the beta version of the software, and Curl officials say four or five Fortune 100-class companies will be deploying Curled content in the coming weeks.

by Mike Fenner"
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Ganesh.

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