Salesforce.com Wants to Add Power to Force

Salesforce.com (again) showed off Force.com, its platform-as-a-service application development platform, just one month after unveiling the offering. Everyone was brimming with pride and joy and talking of "developer happiness." Salesforce.com Vice President Adam Gross was joined by James Ward from Adobe and Natan Zaidenweber of StakeWare, an AppExchange incubator partner

Salesforce.com (again) showed off Force.com, its platform-as-a-service application development platform, just one month after unveiling the offering. Everyone was brimming with pride and joy and talking of "developer happiness."

Salesforce.com Vice President Adam Gross was joined by James Ward from Adobe and Natan Zaidenweber of StakeWare, an AppExchange incubator partner that uses the Force.com platform, on Friday, Oct. 25, for a chalk talk in San Francisco.

Ward showed off a Flex-driven, offline pharma selling app that allows sales agents to call on doctors and log notes that can be uploaded to Salesforce.com later. Ward also showed an application that would enable a conference attendee to pick sessions and build a customized schedule.

Zaidenweber related that he had dumped a two-year Java J2EE (Java 2 Platform, Enterprise Edition) development project designed to help companies track corporate responsibility policies and compliance after he saw a Force.com demo. Now in the Salesforce.com incubator program, Zaidenweber said that after six months of work his team is weeks away from releasing StakeWare on AppExchange as a commercially available application.

While Gross was excited about the 1,500 developers that he said have signed up to use Force.com along with the multitenant database and virtual machine technology that he said is at the core of Saleforce.com's XAAS (everything as a service), I would have liked to see a little less hyperbole and a little more humility in demonstrations: 1,500 is not a huge number of people. Even so, it was hard to get Salesforce.com to admit that there were even any significant areas of Force.com that still needed work.

Since Force.com seemed perfect, I asked if Salesforce.com was now letting go all of its development staff.

Well, no, they weren't doing that. According to Gross, they've used the model of Rails and Struts to build Force.com, so, according to him, it's coming out of the gate a mature product. On the other hand, Salesforce.com still seems quite anxious to get the word out that Force.com is The Next Big Thing. With 1,500 sign-ups, I can see why.