Salesforce banking on Adobe Flash apps

Flash linkage to helps establish the cloud platform as a separate entity from's core CRM system

Share's deal with Adobe Systems linking Adobe Flash to the cloud application platform could help better establish as an entity separate from the company's core online CRM platform.

The deal involves provision of a unified development environment, Adobe Flash Builder for, for more easily deploying Flash applications on The environment is expected to be used for applications to extend CRM applications, to build business applications or websites and to build desktop applications that can run outside of a browser.

"We think this will drive a wider [use] of," said Eric Stahl, director of product marketing at The three-year-old platform currently has 63,000 customers who have built 120,000 applications.

A current user of agreed. The Adobe endeavor "will widen a lot of eyes around what can do," said Adam Wiebe, managing partner with Infowelders, which offers a hosted professional services application on that is not tied to the CRM application. The company also provides its Infowelders Revenue Heat Map on the AppExchange online application store.  Revenue Heat Map is linked to the CRM system and visualises past and future revenues.

The arrangement calls for using Flash on the front end of the application and's Apex programming language on the back end. Developers could access the database. They also would use Adobe Flash development technologies including MXML and ActionScript.

An Adobe official sees the deal with as a way to make more mainstream., said Dave Gruber, group manager with the Adobe platform business unit, has been well respected by users but has had a lack of visibility and a lack of tooling for deploying applications to the cloud.

"This solution provides a very mature tool offering," Gruber said.

"This will open up a new audience for the [platform]," which would be the Adobe Flex developer base, he said. The Flex framework is part of the Flash platform. Gruber said he sees applications being built ranging from mobile workforce applications to inventory management and supplier and manufacturing related applications.

"The other big use case of this offering will be for the installed base to add rich data visualisation to their applications and extend those applications with richer workflow," said Gruber. is being looked at more than just as a CRM extender, according to Eric Knipp, senior research analyst at Gartner. "Increasingly, companies are looking at as a way to develop applications that may not be tied to [CRM]," he said. But these companies probably did find out about through associations with the CRM platform, Knipp said.

The arrangement "presents a client/server style for Internet development," with Flash as the client and as the server, he said.

"I'm looking forward to seeing how Microsoft reacts," to the arrangement, Knipp said. Unlike and Adobe, Microsoft has both a cloud platform, with Windows Azure, and a rich Internet platform, Silverlight, under the same roof, said Knipp.

The tie-up makes sense from a developer led business perspective, said analyst James Governor, of Redmonk.

" is now 10 years old, so while it's a web app, it's very much 1.0," Governor said. "In order to ensure its 2.0 story for, Salesforce wanted a solid rich internet application development experience. Adobe is a natural partner."

Another analyst, Jeff Kaplan, managing director of Thinkstrategies, did not view the deal as an effort to jumpstart "However, it is part of their joint effort to make enterprise applications easier to develop and use," Kaplan said.

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