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Inside Salesforce.com's New Mobile Services Platform

Inside Salesforce.com's New Mobile Services Platform
By Jennifer LeClaire

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Salesforce.com says its new Mobile Services enable developers to produce mobile apps in days, rather than weeks or months, using pre-built services for authentication, user access, testing, and analytics. By providing pre-coded tools for those services, the new Salesforce Platform allows developers to focus on perfecting the mobile-app user experience.
 


Cloud-computing and CRM pioneer Salesforce.com has just introduced its new Salesforce Platform Mobile Services, which promise to accelerate mobile app development with new tools, programs and events. Salesforce says the new services help pave the way for enterprises to tap into real-time customer data using powerful mobile apps.

Discussing the need for a suite of services like this, Salesforce explains that many businesses have been struggling with efforts to produce better mobile apps for their sales, marketing and customer service departments. Development teams are often forced to make trade-offs between a great user experience, secure access to business data, and development speed.

To overcome the hurdles, enterprises frequently resort to hiring specialized developers, with all the associated extra costs. But even then, the teams and technologies for building modern apps can't always connect to relevant business data unless they tie-in to slow, cumbersome legacy app development environments that can hamper the user experience.

Fast Tracking Development

We caught up with Scott Holden, VP of platform marketing at Salesforce.com, to learn more about how the new services will help the mobile-app development process. As he sees it, two factors are most important: speed and customer data.

The Salesforce Platform, he explained, "delivers the fastest path from idea to mobile app because it provides pre-built and pre-coded services -- such as authentication, user access, testing, reporting and analytics." Traditionally, developers have had to code for these services themselves using legacy platforms, Holden said.

Using the Salesforce code and tools can help eliminate "weeks or even months from the development cycle, and allows the developer to really hone in on what makes the app truly engaging -- the user experience." Holden predicts that with Salesforce.com's new Mobile Services, "developers can deliver amazing mobile apps in just days."

Software Development Kits

The Salesforce Mobile SDK 2.0 caters to developers. The open source project lets enterprise developers securely connect enterprise data to any mobile app -- native, hybrid or HTML5 -- on any iOS or Android device. The SDK also makes it possible for HTML5-based apps to leverage device features like the camera and geolocation, and it provides additional libraries for key enterprise requirements such as authentication and secure offline storage.

Meanwhile, Developer Mobile Packs -- open source "quick start" packs -- let any web developer build HTML5 or hybrid mobile apps on any platform and access real-time Salesforce.com data. Mobile Packs leverage the Salesforce Platform REST APIs through a choice of JavaScript frameworks (AngularJS, Backbone.js and jQuery Mobile) to offer greater development flexibility and deliver amazing data-centric mobile experiences. (continued...)

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