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Salesforce, WebEx aim for developers

Salesforce, WebEx aim for developers

Developer toolkit and network unveiled

Salesforce.com and WebEx plan to bolster their SaaS (software as a service) platforms with developer offerings being unveiled in separate announcements on Monday.

At Salesforce, the company is partnering with Adobe Systems to announce availability of Adobe Flex Toolkit for Apex. The package features programming tools combining Adobe's Flex technology for rich Internet application development with the Salesforce.com Apex platform for building on-demand applications.

Developers can make Flex-based applications available on the Salesforce.com AppExchange application directory and deploy them in an on-demand fashion.

With this toolkit, Salesforce is trying to enable developers, ISVs, and customers to build on-demand applications that replicate the success the company has seen with its Salesforce.com CRM application, said Adam Gross, vice president of developer marketing at Salesforce.com.

With Flex, developers can build applications that look like desktop applications but are Web applications. "They can run on the same Flash technology that's of course already ubiquitous," Gross said.

Developers could, for example, build a charting and analytics interface, he said.

"You can embed these Flex experiences directly inside of Salesforce.com," said Gross. "It's really a mashup between the two technologies," Apex and Flex.

The free toolkit, accessible here , lets applications access Apex Web services APIs. Users, however, must see Adobe about acquiring Flex tools, said Gross.

A Salesforce partner offering an on-demand compensation solution applauded the Adobe-Salesforce partnership.

"We've already built our first add-on application using Apex and Flex, and what it's given us is the ability to very rapidly produce these applications that will provide a very rich experience for our end-users," said Salesforce partner Bob Conlin, chief marketing officer at Centive.

Salesforce also offers toolkits for AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML) but has found that Flex is easier for developers and offers components like charting widgets and grids, Gross said.

WebEx is launching WebEx Connect Developer Network, a program for developers building applications for a planned WebEx Connect Marketplace. Featured in the program are development tools, community resources and go-to-market programs for IVs and in-house development teams.

WebEx offers on-demand collaboration applications. Through the new program, ISVs can build mashup applications to leverage WebEx collaborative services, such as meetings and instant messaging, said Shankar Iyer, vice president of the WebEx Connect ecosystem.

With the developer program, WebEx is looking to make its Web collaboration system an application platform.

"[WebEx Connect Developer Network] actually allows developers to start building applications on the platform," Iyer said. Developers get access to APIs and a sandbox to test applications.


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