Salesforce.com added Adobe Flex to its Apex development environment to enable richer, more desktop-like user experiences on its platform.
"Technically, the Adobe Toolkit for Apex leverages inline mashups, allowing you to embed any Internet content inline, such as Flex components, within the salesforce.com experience," said Adam Gross, vice president, developer marketing at salesforce.com . "It makes Web services a first class citizien in the Flash runtime and Flex programming model, so you can create an experience where user interface and runtime are different, but the user context is shared between the two." Flex components can also be stored on saleforce.com and delivered through the company's AppExchange marketplace.
A Flex-based calendar embedded in a salesforce.com on demand application
The toolkit also supports Apollo, Adobe's forthcoming application environment. Gross said he is looking forward to taking advantage of Apollo's offline data synchronization capability.
I asked him about support for Microsoft's platform-independent programming environment, WPF/E. "Right now we are supporting Flex, which is supported by 98 percent of browsers. If WPF/E gets to the same level of ubiquity, we would do it, but I'm pretty skeptical on that front." Not a surprising answer, given how anti-Microsoft salesforce.com's CEO Marc Benioff has been. And, Microsoft does have a long way to go to catch up with Flash/Flex.
As a next step, Microsoft just relaunched WPF/E as Silverlight.