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Salesforce toughs up with Adobe Flash IDE

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Part of Salesfoce.com's schtick is that its applications and platform are simple enough for "regular" business folks to use and customize without asking for IT's help on messy coding and customization.

I've met individual Salesforce.com users on the business side at customers like Hawaiian Airlines, whose idea of challenging programming is a night in with their Tivo.

Now, the software-as-a-service (SaaS) provider has decided to reach out to not just any old group of techies - but arguably the people that programmers have to call on: Flash developers responsible for building application interfaces, rich internet applications (RIAs), or video.

Today, Salesforce.com announced a preview of Adobe Flash Builder for Force.com it has built with Adobe Systems. Final product is due in the first half of calendar 2010.

The idea of Adobe Flash Builder for Force.com is to simplify the work of building Flash-based front ends for Salesforce.com applications and RIAs on the desktop in Flash and Flex that suck on data housed in Force.com.

The integrated development environment (IDE) uses WSDL to open data and assets in your Salesforce.com account and pull them down to your desktop as objects. You can then use Adobe's full Flash tooling such as Catalyst and Flash components such as data grids and check boxes and then deploy a single SWF file.

If you want to build a desktop-based RIA, Flash Builder for Force.com will open an AIR desktop container. The IDE will then let you drag-and-drop user interface elements and connect back to the elements in your Force.com platform account. Also featured is Adobe LiveCycle Data Services to synchronize data between the desktop and cloud. The thinking is that data on the desktop can be stored locally if the user goes offline and replicated with out errors with the Force.com platform when the user is back online.

If you make your Salesforce.com an AIR application then you update the configuration settings in the application to say you want to let the application be available offline.

By integrating Adobe's Flash Builder with Salesforce.com's Apex programming environment and Force platform, the companies said Flash programmers now no longer need to use separate IDEs to build and deploy Flash on Salesforce.com

Eric Stahl, director of product marketing for Force.com, told The Reg that Salesfoce.com wants to provide a runtime platform for the massive Flash development community.

"A lot of our users are CRM admins and do things like the drag and drop point and click nature of coding...we are trying to recruit professional developers to build complex apps on the [Force.com] platform. We've made a fair amount of progress on that front, and bringing Flash developers to the platform is part of that evolution," Stahl said.

Adobe's group product marketing manager Dave Gruber noted Adobe Flash Builder for Force.com would target those extending Salesforce.com inside companies and in a large community of third parties. ®

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