Salesforce.com and Google have made a pretty big announcement this week. They now have a global strategic alliance. This alliance comes after the news of an integration service called Salesforce for Google Apps -- a service that integrates Google Apps with Salesforce.com and their newest venture, Force.com Toolkit for Google Data APIs. According to CNET, this is just another step in Saleforce's plan to take down the mighty Microsoft giant.
According to CNET, Salesforce CEO Mark Benioff's vision is to "to remake the software world and replace Microsoft as a leading business software platform for building any kind of application". Two ways he does this is by putting Microsoft down -- but then who doesn't do that? -- and by aligning with one of Microsoft's biggest competitors -- Google.
Will this new service integration help with the battle?
Force.com Toolkit for Google Data APIs
The new toolkit was announced at the Tour de Force in Santa Clara earlier this week. The conference is all about using and working with Force.com, Salesforce's platform as a service offering.
Although Salesforce.com users had the ability to use Google Apps integrated with their Salesforce applications, there was no server to server development integration. That has changed with this new toolkit. The toolkit is a set of Apex libraries that enables developers to connect Google Docs, Spreadsheets, Calendar and more with Force.com applications. According to their blog on Force.com, "this toolkit works by literally connecting the clouds - all of the integration and interaction happens 'in the cloud' rather than on the client." This is not the typical web service mashup integration that we all know so well. How the Toolkit Works The toolkit is modeled after Google's own Java Client library for Google Data. Many of the class and method names are the same, with exceptions that help the API fit with Apex Code naming conventions.
Using the Data APIs in the toolkit, developers can read and write data and content in Google Applications directly in Force.com's Apex code. This tight integration provides the ability to use this Google-based data in Force.com applications. Developers will continue to use the Force.com database, Apex programming language and Visualforce user interface.
Here's a list of the all the pieces of the toolkit:
* Google Documents API
* Google Calendar API
* Google Spreadsheets API
* Blogger API
* Contacts API
* Google Data Authentication An Open Source Initiative Of interest to many is that this toolkit is completely open-source under the BSD license. You can get the toolkit from code.google.com and as with all open source initiatives, contributions and feedback are welcome.
Can Salesforce Take Down the Mighty Microsoft
This is a good partnership for Google. It's a continuation of Google's efforts to market themselves as enterprise level. It helps that Salesforce is out there encouraging their customers to use Google Apps and Gmail over Microsoft.
But developing on Force.com itself is not open source. Apex is a proprietary programming language for Salesforce. Can one proprietary platform really take down another? Especially one as big and established as Microsoft.
We'll have to watch and see what happens. Until then, enjoy this new integration between Google and Force.com.