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Salesforce.com Rises on Adobe's Hot AIR
With the help of Web-application powerhouse Adobe, Marc Benioff -- Salesforce.com's founder, chairman, and chief executive officer -- brings his company's Force.com platform to the corporate desktop.
Posted Feb 25, 2008
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Everyday Internet users who surf Google's YouTube or download PDF files are familiar with Adobe's Flash Player and its Acrobat Reader. Now Salesforce.com has teamed with Adobe to give its Force.com platform developers the tools to create desktop applications that would include these same Adobe functions. Salesforce.com today released its Force.com Toolkit for Adobe AIR and Flex, designed to introduce functions known as rich Internet applications (RIAs) into online and offline applications. The toolkit allows developers on Force.com -- Salesforce.com's on-demand platform for application development -- to create desktop business applications that include these RIAs for their Force.com projects, says Adam Gross, Salesforce.com's vice president of developer marketing. They key word here is desktop, Gross stresses. The pairing will allow Force.com developers to move their applications off the Internet and onto the desktop -- a capability, he adds, that many had sought. The Adobe features will give those desktop applications the look and feel users have come to expect from standard Web offerings, such as YouTube. "The significance for Salesforce.com is that this allows us to provide an offline component to the Force.com platform," Gross says. "For Force.com, you have to be connected to the Internet to use our capabilities and services. Now, companies can build, say, a database application and run it as a service and then -- using AIR and the Force.com toolkit -- they can develop an offline extension to this Force.com application." The capability comes thanks to Adobe's Integrated Runtime, or AIR, the third iteration of the Flex development framework, which Adobe released Monday. With the new Force.com toolkit for AIR, developers can build or include an offline tool for use in the field, one which automatically synchs up with an online application when the Internet is launched, Gross adds. The Force.com and Adobe pairing will further Salesforce.com's position as not just a software-as-a-service (SaaS) vendor, but a platform-as-a-service one as well, says Denis Pombriant, founder and managing principal of Beagle Research Group, a CRM consultancy. Salesforce.com, he adds, is now able to stress to developers that they can call upon the platform for applications that range well beyond traditional CRM use.
These varied desktop applications -- Gross speaks of a database application, for example -- will advance that message, Pombriant says. "Salesforce.com is getting into the business of [providing] any application you can think of, so they need multiple strategies," Pombriant says. "Previously, Salesforce.com liked what Adobe did, so bringing them into the fold makes the relationship bilateral now. Adobe might actually help push Force.com products [further] into the marketplace."

Related articles: Salesforce.com Builds Bricks with Adobe Adobe Systems and Salesforce.com have announced the availability of Adobe Flex Toolkit for Apex. Salesforce Turns Silver The popular software-as-a-service CRM company delivers its 25th release, adding collaboration and content features amidst rumors of ownership-shopping. Salesforce.com Brings Utility Computing to On-Demand -- But Not to CRM The Force.com platform becomes the first software-as-a-service offering to allow pay-per-login pricing, but the company's CRM applications aren't included. Salesforce.com Connects Me to You The on-demand vendor celebrates a new social networking feature -- and its millionth subscriber. Salesforce.com's Platforming Ventures Two venture-capital firms help launch and fund a program for companies to develop Force.com applications. Salesforce.com's Soapbox Is the Platform At Dreamforce '07, AppExchange says hello to its younger, bigger sister: Force.com, touted as "platform-as-a-service"; the family also welcomes a cousin: Visualforce, hailed as "user-interface-as-a-service." Feature: The 2007 Market Awards: Sales Force Automation Sales force automation (SFA) is evolving into something larger and more comprehensive than it has ever been. Salesforce.com Introduces Platform-as-a-Service With its Summer '07 release, the on-demand specialist expands from on-demand applications to on-demand platforms. Salesforce.com Uncouples Apps from CRM The company introduces Salesforce Platform Edition, a version that allows application development and sharing without a CRM subscription. Salesforce's Dreams of Apex Marc Benioff outlines the company's new customization and programming platform, discusses community development, and announces Winter '07. Business Objects' Polestar Guides Information Search Crystal Reports 2008 offers new tools and capabilities for interactive reporting and visualization via embedded Adobe Flash functionality. SAP Sounds Off on SOA and Collaboration SAP announced that it teamed with Adobe to deliver SAP Enterprise Learning Environment. Feature: Endless Possibilities Web designers now enjoy unlimited site enrichment tools, which will help companies take e-commerce sites to new levels as broadband adoption rates soar.
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