Salesforce.com courts Microsoft .NET developers with new tools

New toolkits go further than the existing API access Salesforce.com had provided

Salesforce.com has announced a new set of tools aimed at Microsoft .NET developers, in a move that acknowledges customers' existing investment in .NET and which could help expand the size of Salesforce.com's developer community.

Salesforce.com had already offered .NET developers API-level access to its platform, but the new tools go further, said Wade Wegner, platform advocate, in a blog post.

The new Salesforce Toolkits for .NET "provide native libraries for interacting with Salesforce APIs, including the REST API and Chatter API," Wegner said. "These toolkits make it super simple to consume services from Salesforce within .NET applications by packaging them up as NuGet packages, thus handling deployment and versioning."

It also makes it possible for .NET developers to use their existing skills to create new applications on Salesforce.com's platform, Wegner added. Salesforce.com recently announced Salesforce1, which combines its original Force.com with Heroku and technology gained through the acquisition of ExactTarget.

Salesforce.com wanted to make sure the new toolkits catered to a wide array of Microsoft platforms, so they use portable class libraries that support .NET 4, .NET 4.5, Windows 8, Windows Phone 8 and Silverlight 5, according to Wegner.

"There is certainly more to do," he wrote. Other .NET features that could come down the pipeline are an extension to Visual Studio, Microsoft's IDE (integrated development environment), and additional support for API operations, according to Wegner. "We're only scratching the surface today."

But as it stands, the new toolkits are worth adding to a .NET shop's bag of tricks, according to Nathen Drees of consulting firm Sonoma Partners, who reviewed the tools.

"This toolkit is available on the Developerforce Github account, which indicates it is officially supported by Salesforce and will continue to be maintained going forward," Drees wrote in a blog post. "It also provides us with code to handle what I would consider to be the most painful part of any application: authentication. This alone makes the toolkit a worthwhile addition to any application that needs to connect with Salesforce."

This is just the latest move in recent months by Salesforce.com to court .NET developers.

In July,it announced API (application programming interface) support for Xamarin, a cross-platform mobile application development framework based on Mono, the open-source implementation of .NET.

Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris' email address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com

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