Curl completes embrace of Eclipse IDE

Curl will release a set of Eclipse development tools on Tuesday, completing its initial transition to the Eclipse IDE.

Rich Internet application vendor Curl will announce Tuesday that it has completed its initial transition over to the Eclipse IDE (integrated development environment) with a set of Eclipse plug-ins, Curl Development Tools for Eclipse (CDE).

CDE will be generally available Tuesday. Features include a language-sensitive editor, integration with Eclipse's debugger and documentation. It is compatible with Linux and Windows operating systems, along with the Eclipse 3.3 and 3.4 SDKs (software development kits) and any Eclipse-based IDE based on those SDK versions.

Curl's original IDE will coexist for a number of years alongside the Eclipse version and eventually be retired, according to Richard Treadway, vice president of sales, marketing and product strategy.

The Cambridge, Massachusetts, company's positioning as the RIA platform best suited for enterprises made the move to Eclipse inevitable, according to Treadway.

"A lot of the people that build enterprise applications, at least people we run into, are standardizing on Eclipse," he said. "There are a lot of additional things that come with the Eclipse IDE, other functions within the framework. To [build them out] as a stand-alone strategy didn't make sense to us."

However, he downplayed the alternative possibility that Curl's tools may struggle to gain attention once in the larger Eclipse IDE.

Curl has already been competing in the RIA market against large vendors such as Adobe, and "had been successful positioning ourselves among those giants," he said. "People that are investigating RIA in the enterprise will find us."

Going with Eclipse gets Curl "several important things," said Michael Cote, an analyst with Redmonk. "Many developers know and are comfortable with Eclipse; you get to work in the whole Eclipse tooling world, and it's respectable to reuse something as comprehensive as Eclipse rather than make your own IDE and exhibit 'not-invented-here' syndrome."

Bola Rotibi, principal analyst with the U.K. consultancy Macehiter Ward-Dutton, said the move to Eclipse should expose the company to a wider audience, but that the real question is "does Curl offer the RIA capabilities that users want?"

"There are arguments for Curl but there are also arguments for [Adobe's] Flex," she said.

For its part, Curl states that its platform is fit to deliver both rich, user-interface-driven Web applications as well as programs that can handle large datasets and scale extensively. It also highlights its support for "occasionally connected computing," which enables Web applications to be run locally on client machines when network connections aren't available.

Curl's tools cost US$598 per developer seat. Pricing for a deployment license starts at US$12,000.

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