Shifts Development to the Cloud creates a platform on demand for developers.

SAN is introducing DevForce, an on-demand platform that will support developers using its Apex programming language.

The idea of this "platform as a service" is to provide a comprehensive cloud computing architecture that will allow enterprise developers as well as developers for ISVs and SIs (systems integrators) to create applications without the need for software and hardware client/server architecture.

The cloud-based platform encompasses a set of features intended to help developers create business applications, including the ability to create database applications on demand, a workflow engine for managing collaboration between users, and a Web services API for programmatic access along with mashups and integration with other applications and data.

Adam Gross, senior vice president of developer marketing for, explained that the cloud-based application environment is intended primarily to help ISVs and other partners create applications for the ecosystem.

"It's intended to make the platform as a service more approachable," Gross told eWEEK.

The principal features of the platform include a metadata API that lets developers programmatically create and manage the code and metadata that those applications are built with; an IDE (integrated development environment) for managing development tasks; a sandbox for testing and training; and a code-share function allowing developers to collaborate more easily.

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Gross added that the metadata API is the most significant addition to the ecosystem since the introduction of the data API in 2003, which allowed customers to produce Web services.

The metadata API "gives you access to the Apex code [the language used to develop applications on top of the AppExchange platform], it gives you access to the schema, so now you can move the metadata in and out of the system," he said.

Gross also told eWEEK that is introducing utility computing capabilities for its customers. Rather than charging customers on a per-seat basis, as it does for its SAAS (software as a service) offerings, the company will allow customers to pay for certain applications on a per-log-in basis.