Salesforce shifts focus to developers

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Salesforce shifts focus to developers has introduced several new services in an attempt to expand its reach with developers.

The company said at a special event in San Francisco that it wants to make it easier to develop applications for its hosted platform.

A new API will allow developers to access Salesforce metadata. Developers will be given full access to the platform, offering data which had previously been managed by wizards and setup tools.

Salesforce also unveiled a new integrated development environment, and a service known as 'Codeshare' which allows developers to collaborate remotely on a project.

A new 'sandbox' option allows developers to test applications in a protected environment.

The new tools are part of a larger campaign to bring third-party developers onboard. Salesforce plans to promote with a global tour dubbed 'Tour de Force'.

The campaign will also offer a US$1m development contest backed by venture capital firm Emergence Capital..

"Our platform has hit a threshold, and developers are asking us for more information," said Salesforce president and chief executive Marc Benioff.

David Dorbin, president and founder of research firm said that the campaign is a good idea, but that selling developers on the hosted platform will be an uphill battle.

"It has been an affordable model for a lot of businesses, but it has been harder for them to get developers than users," he explained. "For every one that develops on Salesforce, there are 200 that do not."

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