"Whats next? Helping developers understand new options—its not just Java versus .Net," said Adam Gross, director of product marketing at Salesforce.com. "[Were providing] an entirely different way of building applications, and ISV applications. We want that same level of love from developers [as Java and .Net]." Unlike .Net or Java, however, AppExchange is meant for the purpose of developing business applications. Users wouldnt, for example, build games using the platform, according to Gross.Those automated services are important for taking some of the drudgery out of application development, according to Tucker. "Things that motivate a developer are being able to invent new things that look cool" and that will thrill users, Tucker said. "And you want to do as little work as possible," he said. Though it is relying on standard development technologies, Salesforce is putting its own spin on things. The company has completely rewritten its SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol) stack from the ground up to include a new Web services processing engine, according to Gross. "Its an orders of magnitude improvement," said Gross. "Our core protocols are all standard, but were writing our own implementations of this—its not new functionality, but its new speed." Those customers familiar with AppExchange welcome the platforms potential. "AppExchange is great. It gives us lots of opportunities to create things on the fly that we dont have the resources or time to try—and it makes things a little more central," said Melissa Caylor, director of IT at First New England Mortgage. "[But] I dont plan to move any time soon. Mortgage is so cyclical were not in a position to put anything in place." Read more here about Salesforce.coms vision for AppExchange. John Burgess, CEO at Yearmovie Inc., has had an opportunity to try out AppExchange. He recently integrated his Salesforce CRM applications with ERP (enterprise resource planning) functionality from Intacct Corp., using AppExchange. "Through AppExchange we were exposed to Intacct. Its been very valuable," said Burgess, in Springfield, Mo. "Were looking at integrating our platform to Salesforce, through AppExchange, so we can have visibility on how we are progressing, and how our customers are using our product. Its a powerful concept." Salesforce.com is also tapping partners for development might. The company announced Tuesday partnerships with Business Objects, Skype and Adobe that have resulted in new applications for AppExchange. Tata Consultancy Services, a global IT and consulting organization, announced a partnership with Salesforce to develop and deploy applications on AppExchange. However, the partner community is not entirely sold on AppExchange yet. "We see a lot of demand, but we dont yet see the entire vision of AppExchange, where applications are just downloaded and used," said Stephen Savignano, CEO of Ketera Technologies Inc., which develops on-demand spend management applications that are integrated with AppExchange. "The vision of that solution is the place where people can buy and shop for applications, and they have that, that part is working—were seeing demand coming from the channel. But the idea that companies are just going to download applications from Salesforce—thats going to vary. A lot of people that have come through AppExchange, do they download applications? No. Maybe in the future." Editors note: This story was updated to with comments from Salesforce.com executives to explain their development strategy for AppExchange. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis about customer relationship management solutions.
To help developers build on-demand applications faster and easier, the company has automated a number of those tools including form building, analytics, internationalization of applications, security, sharing, Web services and APIs.