Curl is a reflective object-oriented programming language for interactive web applications whose goal is to provide a smoother transition between formatting and programming. It makes it possible to embed complex objects in simple documents without having to switch between programming languages or development platforms.
The language attempts to address a long-standing problem: the different building blocks that make up any modern web document most often require wildly different methods of implementation: different languages, different tools, different frameworks, often completely different teams. The final—and often most difficult— hurdle has been getting all of these blocks to communicate with each other in a consistent manner. Curl attempts to side-step these problems by providing a consistent syntactical and semantic interface at all levels of web content creation: from simple HTML to complex object-oriented programming.
While the Curl language can be used as an HTML replacement for presenting formatted text, its capabilities range all the way to those of a compiled, strongly typed, object-oriented system programming language. Both the authoring (HTML-level) and programming constructs of Curl can be extended in user code. The language is designed so Curl applications can be compiled to native code of the client machine by a just-in-time compiler and run at high speed.
Curl applets are viewed using the Curl RTE, a runtime environment with a plugin for web browsers. Currently, it is supported on Microsoft Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X.
Curl has had a feature of detached applets for several years, which is a web deployed applet which runs on the user's desktop independent of a browser window much as in Silverlight 3 and Adobe AIR. See also Site-specific browser. Curl applets can also be written so that they will run off-line when disconnected from the network (occasionally-connected computing). In fact, the Curl IDE is an application written in Curl.
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