I’m at the Dreamforce conference in San Francisco, where Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce.com, and co-founder Parker Harris, are presenting new features in the force.com platform.
The first is a built-in ability to publish your Force.com data as a public web site. The service is currently in “developer preview” and set for full release in 2009. Even in preview, it’s priced per page view on your site. For example, if you have the low-end Group Edition, you get 50,000 page views free; but if you exceed that limit, you pay $1000 per month for up to 1,000,000 further page views. It would be unfortunate if you had 50,001 page views one month.
The second announcement relates to Facebook integration. This is a set of tools and services that lets you use Facebook APIs within a Force.com application, and create Facebook applications that use force.com data. Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO, says this is “Enterprise meets social”. The problem: Facebook is consumer-focused, more play than work. Sandberg says this deal will launch Facebook into the Enterprise. This will be an interesting one to watch.
Third, there are new tools linking Force.com with Amazon’s S3 and EC2. Tools for S3 wrap Amazon’s API with Apex code (Apex is the language of Force.com) so you can easily add unlimited storage to your Force.com application. Tools for EC2 delivers pre-built Amazon Virtual Machines (AMIs) that have libraries for accessing Force.com data and applications. The first AMI is for PHP, and simplifies the business of building a PHP application that extends a Force.com solution.
Interesting that Salesforce.com is providing two new ways to build public web sites that link to Force.com – one on its own platform, the other using PHP and in future Ruby, Java (I presume) etc.
It’s worth noting that you could already do this by using the SOAP API for Force.com, and there are already wrappers for languages including PHP. This is mainly about simplifying what you could already do.
More information is at developer.force.com.