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Salesforce.com on Monday introduced a toolkit for building Adobe AIR and Flex applications to run on Salesforce.com's software-as-a-service platform.
The Force.com toolkit, available at no charge, enables the building of rich Internet applications. RIAs, in general, are user interfaces that have the richness of desktop applications, but are built using Internet technologies.
Adobe AIR is a cross-operating system platform that allows developers to build Internet-connected applications that aren't restricted to the Web browser. Flex is Adobe's development framework. Developers using Saleforce.com's new tools will be able to build AIR/Flex applications that extend the functionality of Salesforce.com's on-demand customer and sales-force management application, and offer the software through Salesforce.com's AppExchange marketplace, the company said.
The new toolkit provides developers with direct access to application programming interfaces, or APIs, for accessing the database, logic and workflow capabilities on Salesforce.com's platform. The vendor offers a number of other resources for creating, deploying and/or selling applications connected to the SaaS platform.
Salesforce.com claims to have a community of 70,000 developers building applications. Salesforce.com in January started offering an integrated development environment that would work in the programmer's browser window and connect to the vendor's resources.
Dubbed the Cloud Computing Architecture, the development-as-a-service offering is basically a repackaged Eclipse IDE that's tied to Salesforce.com's platform. The Force IDE is in "developer preview" with no specific delivery date, other than later this year. Eclipse is an open source programmer's workbench into which Eclipse-compatible tools may be plugged and used together.
Adobe released its first version of AIR, or Adobe integrated runtime, on Monday, and the third iteration of Flex. Air is about an 11 MB download for the Windows version; there's also a Mac version and one for Linux is due out later this year.