Salesforce touts new mobile tools for developers

Company builds on its mobile services platform with new developer packs, SmartSync framework, and sample apps

As the BYOD movement takes hold in the enterprise, end-users expect access to their business apps all the time regardless of what type of device they're on, where their data is stored (locally or in the cloud), and even whether they're connected to the Internet. That's a tall order, and it puts a lot of pressure on app dev teams to support those scenarios.

Fortunately, platform companies -- not just Microsoft, Apple, Oracle, and SAP but also Amazon Web Services, Dropbox, VMware, and Citrix -- are making it a top priority to equip developers with the tools they need to keep mobile users productive. Also on that list is, which today unveiled new tools and features as part of its recently announced Salesforce Platform Mobile Services.

Salesforce touts new mobile tools for developers

The announcement includes new Developer Mobile Packs, which provide devs some flexibility as to how their apps connect to customer data; a new SmartSync Data Framework, intended to simplify the creation of offline mobile apps; and a collection of mobile design templates and sample mobile apps, which developers can use as inspiration or building blocks for their own coding endeavors.

Salesforce first unveiled the Developer Mobile Packs last month. Said packs allow developers to access APIs through multiple popular JavaScript frameworks, including AngularJS, Backbone.js, and JQuery for mobile. Today, the company unveiled four more Mobile Packs. They include:

  • Knockout.js Mobile Pack, which offers data binding for building mobile apps
  • Mobile Pack, which lets business users create mobile apps with a drag-and-drop UI
  • Sencha Touch Mobile Pack, which includes more than 50 components and themes, along with an MVC, for multiplatform mobile apps that access Salesforce data
  • Xamarin Mobile Pack, which enables .Net developers to write iOS and Android mobile apps backed with Salesforce Platform Mobile Services

Also new is the SmartSync Data Framework for creating mobile apps that function whether or not the device is connected to the network. "The new SmartSync Data Framework takes care of the heavy lifting of managing offline data and synchronizing that information when connectivity is restored," according to Salesforce VP of Developer Relations Adam Seligman. "The lightweight JavaScript framework lets developers focus on delivering apps, not plumbing."

In addition to the new packs, Salesforce is now offering more than 20 open source, predesigned HTML5/CSS templates. Developers can edit them and connect them with Salesforce customer data using their preferred Mobile Pack. Salesforce has posted dozens of sample open source mobile apps -- all written on the Salesforce Platform -- to a gallery on GitHub.

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