I'm still a Salesforce newbie, so I hope you won't mind my "immature" vocabulary.;)
I'm about to build an application which should be integrated with Salesforce. Currently I have two options in front of me: developing an application on Force.com platform (installed as a package) or as a standalone, Java app, communication with Salesforce through its APIs.
The use case is: the end-user should be able to select (by type of by search) a set of records (contacts, accounts, leads etc.) which may be of variable size (a couple of them but up to the complete number of records), and then send the records to a 3rd party service for processing, and then (on-demand) pull the processed records back to his account.
I've read about some pains of using the Force.com platform and their tools, but I'd like to know if there's anything in the exposed SOAP/REST APIs which isn't available when using the platform and tools themselves?