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RIA & Ajax: Article

Curl Launches Adobe AIR Competitor

Curl announced the beta release of Curl Nitro, the code name for an extension of the Curl Rich Internet Application (RIA) platfo

Curl announced the beta release of Curl Nitro, the code name for an extension of the Curl Rich Internet Application (RIA) platform which offers enhanced desktop capabilities required by today's 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 the only platform for both traditional RIA and Desktop RIA that provides enterprise-level security, high performance and support for large data sets.

"Rich Internet Application technologies are converging with desktop applications to form a new platform, variously called Desktop 2.0, the RIA Desktop or the Fit Client," said Bert Halstead, chief architect, Curl, Inc. "The capabilities needed for Fit Client platforms include the standard RIA capabilities plus the ability to run applications off-line and directly from the desktop. Among the few Fit Client technologies that have emerged, Curl stands out in addressing the needs of enterprises for secure, high-performance processing with large data sets and sophisticated user interfaces. Curl has always provided these capabilities and, with Nitro, they are available more easily than ever on the desktop. Enterprises now have a better choice for secure, mission-critical applications that use large data sets and require 3D and 2D rendering, sophisticated data input and visualization."

Nitro offers the essential capabilities of the Fit Client such as support for rich user interfaces, complex application logic, and agile development. To accomplish this, Curl has enhanced its desktop capabilities with the following new features:

  • Applet installer and desktop controls - Curl applets can be installed on the desktop for online and offline operation in a secure sandbox. The installer creates shortcuts on the desktop and start menu with customizable icons and a skinnable user interface.
  • Client-side database - Nitro enables developers to build applications with local databases using the popular open source SQLite database engine combined with standard Curl techniques for data presentation and manipulation.
  • Demo applets - These Web-enabled applications run standalone on the desktop, update when connected and provide real business value to enterprises. Curl's initial Nitro Beta demos include a Dashboard and a Social Network Visualization application.
  • Desktop security model - With Nitro, desktop applications use the same security model as Curl applets. They run in a secure sandbox with local data access but limited system privileges. Curl applications can also be fully privileged applications, which require a standard digital signature provided by an established certification authority - self-signing is not allowed.

"RIA has become the norm for Web applications in recent years, but consumers and enterprise information workers are demanding more. They want to be able to take their applications off-line, to work when disconnected and to move their primary work environment from the browser back to the desktop. These Fit Clients-applications that combine the best features of RIA and desktop applications-are emerging as the next generation in presentation strategies," said Anne Thomas Manes, vice president and research director, Burton Group. "Vendors that deliver secure, scalable and manageable frameworks for Fit Clients will have a competitive advantage going forward."

In keeping with the other components of the Curl RIA platform, Nitro supports a wide range of Windows platforms as well as Linux and Mac. The public beta of Curl Nitro is currently available for download at, 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 around the company supporting the Eclipse platform, as well as the release of an Ubuntu Installer for its RIA platform.

More Stories By RIA News Desk

Ever since Google popularized a smarter, more responsive and interactive Web experience by using AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript + XML) for its Google Maps & Gmail applications, SYS-CON's RIA News Desk has been covering every aspect of Rich Internet Applications and those creating and deploying them. If you have breaking RIA news, please send it to [email protected] to share your product and company news coverage with AJAXWorld readers.

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