"One of the most frequent requests we receive is to
automate operations on existing Web applications. In many cases,
the best answer involves curl.
"curl is a tool for transferring files with URL syntax,
supporting FTP, FTPS, HTTP, HTTPS, GOPHER, TELNET, DICT, FILE and
LDAP", as stated on its home page at http://curl.haxx.se/. More
precisely, curl is a portable command-line executable for
convenient Web retrieval, along with an associated library,
...In 1997, Daniel Stenberg, a consultant based just north of
Stockholm, wanted to make currency-exchange calculations available
to Internet Relay Chat (IRC) users. All the necessary data are
published on the Web; he just needed to automate their retrieval.
This task is an interesting one in several regards. As 2002 opens,
it's hard not to think of it in terms of formal Web Services (WS),
where currency-market reporting is one of the canonical examples
used to introduce newcomers to WS concepts. "Regular Expressions"
will feature WS several times during the coming year."