• April 16, 2007
  • By Marshall Lager, founder and managing principal, Third Idea Consulting; contributor, CRM magazine

Salesforce.com Builds Bricks with Adobe

Adobe Systems and Salesforce.com have announced the availability of Adobe Flex Toolkit for Apex, a new set of programming tools using Adobe Flex to create new business applications for the Salesforce.com Apex platform. According to the companies, developers using Flex Toolkit for Apex can create richer applications for their Salesforce.com deployments and make them available on the AppExchange directory. The Flex Apex toolkit gives applications access to Apex Web services APIs to quickly create rich Internet applications (RIA) that fit into existing business processes or enable new ones. "The Flex Toolkit for Apex combines the innovation of the Apex platform with the power of Adobe Flex to let developers create new on-demand business applications that are more capable, easier to use, and more compelling than their software-only alternatives," said Adam Gross, vice president of developer marketing for Salesforce.com, in a written statement. And just as end users will be delighted with the applications they can now use, developers will be delighted with how easily and quickly they can be built and shared." Adobe spokespeople echoed Gross' sentiments. "Flex and Apex are a perfect match," said Jeff Whatcott, vice president of product marketing for Adobe's enterprise and developer business unit. "Blending the leading rich Internet application framework with the leading on-demand application platform means better applications delivered with less effort. We're entering an era in which developers can deliver truly rich enterprise applications on-demand, across platforms, both in the browser and directly on the desktop." Industry analysts say this partnership is a positive thing, but not necessarily for the reasons the two companies pitch. "This is primarily about AppExchange, and Salesforce.com trying to develop a better exosystem of ISVs. The knock on AppExchange has always been that it's proprietary, and a dog to work with," says George Goodall, research analyst at Info-Tech Research Group. "The hearts and minds of ISVs lie with the development tools; instead of the mysterious Apex Java/SQL hybrid, they now can leverage a visual design product and build out with it." According to Goodall, programs like the Salesforce.com-Adobe collaboration could lead the end of the perception of SaaS vendors as one-trick ponies. But there are potential challenges as well. "If Salesforce.com steps back to becoming primarily an infrastructure provider and lets ISVs come forward, well, lots of other companies do highly-scalable infrastructure well also," he says. "For example, there's Amazon.com and its storage cloud. Anybody could be an infrastructure vendor with the right development tools." Related articles: Delivering the Four Seasons ''Experience'' Online
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