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Client/Web aims to boost I-performance

As client/server gives way to Web services, one way to overcome Internet performance issues is to empower the client, contends Brent Young, technology evangelist at Cambridge, Mass.-based Curl Corp.

Listing Tim Berners-Lee among its 12 MIT co-founders, Curl is named for the { } marks employed in XML. The start-up company offers what it labels a 'client/Web solution' that focuses on speeding up client-side processing.

While most Web services applications execute on the Web server, Young explained, Curl takes advantage of the fact that the PC client also has processing power. It replaces the thin-client concept with a 'rich-client' model.

The newly released Curl Client/Web platform combines what company representatives describe as 'the rich client functionality of client/server with the centralized control, maintenance and deployment efficiencies of the Web.' The company promotes this paradigm as a way to provide users with better performance by overcoming Internet bandwidth issues, as well as a means of reducing an organization's need for additional Web servers.

Young demonstrated how a rich client could download sample sales data from a Web server and then perform tasks such as changing chart views of that data without returning to the server. In the demonstration, the notebook PC client interacts with the Web server only when it needs additional or updated information.

'The graph is a living object on the Web page,' explained Young.

This is done with Curl's Surge Runtime Environment, which works on the client side, providing a just-in-time compiler and a multimedia engine that integrates text and graphics in 'interactive forms' that respond to end-user input, Young explained.

The Client/Web platform also includes an IDE using the Curl language, which, Young said, is 'Visual Basic-like.'

Developers can download the platform for four weeks of free evaluation at http://www.curl.com. The site also has example applications and further information, added Young.

About the Author

Rich Seeley is Web Editor for Campus Technology.

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