Curl Enters Desktop Wars

Nitro, Curl's new rich Internet application, offers enterprises enhanced desktop capabilities.

At the Web 2.0 Expo April 21, Curl is expected to announce the beta release of Curl Nitro, the code name for an extension of the Curl rich Internet application platform that offers enhanced desktop capabilities for enterprises.

The Nitro extension simplifies the process of installing and managing Curl applications accessed via a browser as well as directly from the desktop. Curl Nitro is a platform for both traditional RIA and desktop RIA that provides enterprise-level security, high performance and support for large data sets , said Richard Monson-Haefel, vice president of developer relations at Curl.

Nitro features an applet installer and desktop controls, a client-side database, demo applets, and a desktop security model where Nitro applications use the same security model as Curl applets. Nitro applications run in a secure sandbox with local data access but limited system privileges. Curl's initial Nitro Beta demos include a dashboard and the Social Network Visualization application.

Nitro runs on Windows platforms as well as Linux and Mac. The public beta of Curl Nitro will be available for download April 21, with the full release scheduled to be available later in the year. The release of Nitro comes on the heels of Curl's recent announcement of the company's support of the Eclipse platform, as well as the release of an Ubuntu Installer for its RIA platform.

The Curl Nitro beta as well as Version 6.0 of the Curl platform will be demonstrated at the Web 2.0 Expo in San Francisco.

Monson-Haefel said Curl helps developers win the platform war with the product's multilanguage support. Part of the Nitro road map is to add support for developing applications that run on the Curl platform in AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript and X M L), Adobe Flash, Curl, and Adobe PDF.

"We are also considering other languages," Monson-Haefel said. "Curl is an excellent programming language and platform, but in our opinion, the language is secondary. It's the platform that matters."

In addition, he said that Curl is "involved in a desktop platform war. This goes well beyond RIA. For example, the Curl run-time is not only a much better option than any other RIA solution, it's a better option than native applications. Why? Because Curl applications run in a separate process and are natively compiled-they do not run in the browser process. As a result we can achieve native code speeds because the code that is executed is native code."

At the same time, he said, there are sandbox applications that prevent them from accessing user data and the rest of the system while giving them the disk space they need to do their jobs.

"Curl Nitro isn't just a RIA platform, it's a desktop platform that provides the same execution environment across Windows, Linux and Mac (both PowerPC and Intel-based), yet is as fast as regular desktop applications and is more secure," he said.