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Quip, the collaboration service owned by Salesforce, announced today that it will be opening a developer platform so third parties can create custom document add-ins. This is designed to let customers work more effectively by adding functionality that they need, like project planning tools.

For example, a customer will now be able to insert a Kanban board, which tracks different items as they move through various stages of a process, into a document alongside media and written content. Each Quip document is essentially a collaboration canvas that can include information people write down inside it, as well as outside data, like Salesforce records.

To provide initial Live App integrations, Quip has partnered with a handful of companies, including Smartsheet, Atlassian, New Relic, and Facebook. That means customers will be able to do things like pull information from a Jira bug report into a set of meeting notes so that everyone on a team can see a problem that’s being discussed.

Serving as a platform for third-party applications should help Quip go beyond being a lightweight replacement for parts of Microsoft Office or Google Docs and bolster the team’s overall goal of serving as a more full-featured collaboration hub.


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The vision for Quip laid out by this developer platform is similar to Google Wave, a document collaboration service that launched in 2009 to a lot of hype but didn’t end up taking off. Part of the problem with Wave was that while the service was powerful (it offered real-time, collaborative document editing alongside the inclusion of live-updating modules that pulled in map information, polled collaborators, and more), it was difficult for ordinary users to understand.

Quip founder and CEO Bret Taylor said that Salesforce is aiming to mitigate some of the complexity that could arise with this iteration of the product by letting administrators set up Quip templates for commonly used tasks. That way, end users don’t have to know where the calendar and to-do list modules are; they can just open the project planning template.

The news builds on announcements from last year, when Quip unveiled its initial integration with Salesforce’s software stack.

Customers will be able to start using the live apps today, and Salesforce has released an API that will also allow them to develop their own Live Apps. All of this is part of the company’s announcements at its major Dreamforce conference in San Francisco this week. These include a new bot building tool and a service for creating custom predictions based on machine learning.

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