Rhomobile adds Salesforce feature to sync server

Rhomobile Inc. has updated its smart phone app integration server adding “out of the box” source adapters that will let developers easily connect their mobile apps to existing SalesForce.com systems.

The San Jose, Calif.-based app development firm said RhoSync 2.1 will drastically reduce the time and code needed for a developer to integrate their Objective C apps. Typically, the company said, half of an app’s code will be dedicated to connecting to the back-end Web service, retrieving the data via XML or JSON, parsing the data and then populating and managing the update in the local device database.

“Removing all of that duplicate code, we’re talking about an app that used to be a multi-month development project being done in one or two weeks,” said Rhomobile CEO Adam Blum.

RhoSync is a standalone server that lets developers build mobile apps that are fully integrated and in-sync with existing enterprise apps. A developer is only required to write a short source adapter to start syncing the app.

As part of the latest RhoSync release, users will not have to even write a source adapter if they want to connect their app back with Salesforce objects. Rhomobile said the packaged Salesforce adapters will work with all of the company’s apps, including new features such as their REST and Chatter APIs.

With customer relationship management apps being the top use case for this functionality, Blum said, the company is also working on source adapters for other major platforms including SugarCRM, Siebel, and Microsoft Dynamics.

Blum said the market for the app integration server is huge because the typical enterprise app developer is either trying to hack out their own sync code or is opting to avoid the process altogether.

“If you want people to really use that app, you pretty much have to do synchronized data,” he said. “It’s been shown time and time again.”

In addition to the Salesforce source adapters, the latest version of RhoSync will also add an analytics feature. This will let developers track the app performance as it syncs to their company’s back-end systems.

RhoSync also now offers user by user sync partitions and app-wide sync partitions.

The RhoSync update comes at a time when developers are increasingly looking for ways to sync the app development process with their other enterprises systems and across multiple mobile OS platforms.

According to a Forrester Research Inc. report released in late 2010, developers should establish a multi-platform strategy for both development and testing if they want to avoid being overwhelmed by complexity in 2011. Forrester said that multi-device shops are now in the majority, with one in four IT shops supporting all types of personal mobile devices employees bring to work.

“The year 2010 was when mobile application development began crossing the chasm from early adopters to mainstream application development shops,” said analyst Jeffrey Hammond in the report. “But what started as ‘we need an iPhone app!’ has now progressed to a multiple device and operating system reality. Our data shows that mobile developers are already supporting native applications on multiple platforms and that it’s likely to get more complicated as tablets join mobile phones as new development targets.”

RhoSync and its external RhoSync client Objective C library are now available to buy online. The product is also available as part of the company’s software-as-a-service offering.

– With Paul Krill, InfoWorld (U.S.)

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