And, as with all Salesforce.com services, Force.com Sites runs entirely in the cloud without the cost and complexity of traditional software, the company said. Force.com Sites is now available in developer preview here.
"Force.com Sites changes the entire paradigm for building applications," said Narinder Singh, founder and head of technology and marketing at Appirio. "Companies no longer have to consider separate architectures and approaches depending on where the users are. Running Web sites in Salesforce.com's cloud removes cost and complexity and allows companies to extend existing applications beyond their own four walls."
Publishing business data and applications to the Web using Force.com Sites requires some simple steps to get up and running: A user must build an application on Force.com, using its sharing models and security rules to define what data and information to make public; use Visualforce to build the Web site's external, public facing pages; register a Force.com domain name; and publish and run the site on Salesforce.com's global trusted infrastructure.
"It is a dynamic, electrifying connection between what you have and what you're able to let the world know about it," Coffee said of the Salesforce.com strategy. "This is not just a Web site hosting solution. This is how you can have system builders and developers show that what the world sees and what you have in your environment is the same. We're offering you more capability with less work."
"With Force.com Sites, customers can run their Web sites in our cloud," said Marc Benioff, chairman and CEO of Salesforce.com, in a statement. "Force.com Sites will enable a dramatic expansion of Force.com's role in cloud computing for the enterprise. We expect our community to unleash entirely new kinds of applications and innovations that will truly drive our vision of 'The End of Software.'"
"Running our business on Force.com has been night and day compared with our previous client/server infrastructure," said Michael Wolverton, CEO of Cathedral Partners, a marketplace that connects buyers and sellers of privately held companies. "Our business revolves around our interactive Web application, a marketplace to connect buyers and sellers. With Force.com Sites we were able to get our marketplace up and running in a matter of weeks instead of the months it had taken with our previous architecture."
Indeed, Salesforce.com said customers can use Force.com Sites to build and run new Web applications with Force.com Sites; transform business applications into Web sites by sharing a view of an application on a public Web site; and extend the Salesforce CRM applications through the creation of interactive Web-to-lead forms.
However, while Salesforce is holding its Dreamforce event in San Francisco, CRM competitor SugarCRM is holding its own event called Acceleration, where the company is talking about a bailout package for Salesforce.com users.
Martin Schneider, senior director of product marketing at SugarCRM, wrote in a blog post: "SugarCRM is announcing its own bailout plan--rescuing companies from the crushing effects of overpriced software. Let's call it a Salesforce.com User Bailout."
More details on the SugarCRM strategy are available here.