Salesforce.com has unveiled its latest platform release which includes the Apex programming environment allowing users to develop new applications for the firm's on-demand enterprise service.
The move is the latest effort to expand from a web-based customer resource management service to a web-based enterprise platform on which any sort of application can be written and implemented.
The Summer 07 release will also allow users to modify the application's behaviour by entering rules or formulas in the workflow software.
This is intended to allow users to customise the service and add automation without needing to do heavy coding.
"Being the first vendor to offer a platform as a service is huge in the industry," Al Falcione, director of product marketing at Salesforce.com, told vnunet.com "This sets a new standard for what on-demand means."
Denis Pombriant, managing principal at Beagle Research Group, said that Apex will be of special significance to IT departments wanting to develop management tools in a secure 'sandbox' environment without the restrictions of a physical infrastructure.
"The emphasis on the platform is something we have been seeing, and this is a logical next step in providing the IT department with a 21st century environment," Pombriant told vnunet.com.
Salesforce.com's services have traditionally been used to manage customer or retail partner information.
By allowing users to write code for any type of enterprise application, and run it on Salesforce.com's servers, the company hopes to expand its reach into new areas.
To further this expansion, the company has developed a community of commercial Apex developers who create new services and sell them to other Salesforce.com customers through the AppExchange service.
This allows Salesforce.com to create a system of automatic "value creation" where third parties add features to the service that would otherwise have to be developed in-house, explained Pombriant.
"Salesforce.com may be the only software company that has this army of developers building applications for its platform, and doing it gratis," he said.
Salesforce.com said that Summer 07 will be rolled out some time in August.
Salesforce stakes claim to 'platform as a service'
By Shaun Nichols on Jul 18, 2007 10:30AM