Tuesday, January 20, 2009
DataBasin, or how to access salesforce.com from Objective-C
After several weeks of work, I can announce my first concrete success: the download of the contact list from the CRM to a CSV file.
On supported platforms, like Java or C#, salesforce.com offers libraries for a convenient access to their APIs (webservice interfaces). For Objective-C and GNUstep of course there is nothing of the kind. Thus I started writing a layer to access the webservices directly using SOAP calls. To be able to write those, I use GNUstep's WebServices framework, which I discovered was still quite rough and incomplete. Richard Frith-MacDonald though promptly debugged it and extended it. Until the first login was possible, a lot of debugging and investigation on the calls was necessary, I was patiently supported by my colleague Andrea Rosa.
Currently the donload means that the Login method completes correctly and returns a valid session, which is then reused to perform the query request and interpret its response. It is a demonstration that the whole concept can work
My intention is to develop DataBasin to be a free Open Source alternative to the DataLoader tool supplied by salesforce.com. Once I reach that goal, I alreayd have further ideas on how to extend it.
DataBasin is part of the GNUstep Application Project and will be released there once ready for prime time.