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Laszlo Restores Power To Web Users

OpenLaszlo lets developers build interactive Web apps
Laszlo Systems is bent on restoring power to Web users. The Web consists of large Internet servers sending HTML pages to the equivalent of dumb terminals: browser windows. Whether a consumer or business user, the client sits, waiting to be spoon fed.

Laszlo Systems

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Spoon feeding not required
To empower users, Laszlo has produced a high-level language, Laszlo XML, with which authors of Web applications can build programs that interact with users. Laszlo's declarative language platform, OpenLaszlo, is open source. So far, there are 15,000 developers registered to use it, and downloads continue at the rate of 8,000 a month, CEO Steve Ciesinski says.

Interactive Laszlo systems already have been put in place by the likes of La Quinta Inns. The chain presents Web site visitors with a U.S. map; users click on a state, then the locale, to find what rooms are available at what price, without leaving the original page.

The interactions are possible because Laszlo injects a set of interactive components into the browser window and alerts an Internet server when a user takes an action, such as clicking on dates to reserve a room. Although Laszlo runs inside the Macromedia Flash Player, later this year it will shift its output to run, as Ajax does, as XML and asynchronous JavaScript. Developers will leave it to OpenLaszlo to resolve browser differences while freeing themselves up to focus on enhancing user-Internet interaction.

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