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Salesforce.com gets that old SOA religion

Cosies up to Adobe, but doesn't get down with Google (yet)

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The elephant in the room was one of the presenters at Salesforce.com's one day developer conference in Silicon Valley yesterday.

With rumours of an upcoming Google partnership sparking financial news, the company's CEO Marc Benioff joked that he wasn't going to talk about the rumours – though he did proceed to hint that there may be some truth in them.

Certainly, Google's presence could be felt throughout the event, with keynote demonstrations showing Salesforce.com's platform working with Google's APIs.

Most Salesforce.com events focus on the end user and the casual developer who wants to work with the software as service pioneer web forms. This one was different, and looked at some of the service's newer developer-centric features.

Describing the Salesforce.com platform as a "catalyst for change", Benioff walked through the history of the business, pointing out that the founding developers had delivered many of the infrastructure and platform services needed to run applications on demand before Salesforce.com's first contact management tool went public.

Benioff's keynote showed off several applications that had been built on the Salesforce.com AppExchange, and highlighted new features in the Apex development toolset (while hinting at further developer features that would be announced at the company's Dreamforce event in autumn).

If the Google relationship was off the table, Salesforce.com's growing links with Adobe were a big part of the keynote story. Adobe's chief software architect Kevin Lynch showed off Apollo and Flex, along with a set of Apollo applications that had been designed to work with Salesforce.com's APIs.

Lynch was typically enthusiastic about what he referred to as the "native integration of web applications with the desktop computer". Benioff agreed, and pointed out that "once you have a client, you need a server – and that's what Salesforce.com offers".

Part of the keynote, led by EVP Technology Parker Harris and VP developer relations Adam Gross showed off Apex and the Flex developer platform. They also gave some insight into Salesforce.com's own development processes, revealing that agile development methodologies - specifically a modified version of Scrum – are at the heart of how they build their platform.

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