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When Flex met Apex

Adobe and Salesforce.com announce Flex tool for Apex platform

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Following hard on heels of last week's move into content management, Salesforce.com has joined forces with Adobe to offer a Flex Tool kit for its Apex development platform.

Launched today at Web 2.0 Expo in San Francisco, the two vendors say the new toolkit enables developers to build so-called ‘rich Internet’ applications using Flex features and deliver them as on-demand applications through Apex.

Adam Gross, vice president of developer marketing at salesforce.com, says the tool brings advantages to developers in both communities. Apex developers will be able to create more interesting applications using Flex features such as drag and drop and rich media; while Flex developers will be able use Apex's embedded mashup features and incorporate services and content from the Web.

“With these tools, developers can build mashups based on Apex applications. Under the hood, we have worked with Adobe to make all the Apex services available to Flex so you can get native access to the Web content,” Gross explains.

The Flex elements of Apex applications work as browser-based components so they can be deployed without the need for additional software infrastructure. They can also be packaged and redistributed through the Apex AppExchange.

Centive, developer of the on-demand sales compensation package Compel, is one the first users of the toolkit. Bob Conlin, chief marketing officer at Centive says: “We plan to leverage the Adobe Flex Toolkit for Apex to develop additional applications for the AppExchange that will enhance the value and end-user experience we seek to provide our customers.”

Gross says that a version of the Flex toolkit is also under development to work with Adobe's Apollo operating environment. “This is still experimental at the moment. But the idea is to provide the same features so you can build Apollo counterparts to Apex applications using the same tool.” ®

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