Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Salesforce.com to allow customization of its hosted service

Salesforce.com, the hosted CRM provider, is introducing a Java-like programming language called Apex to its services. Apex, which is currently in beta-testing, will allow users of Salesforce.com to customize the service or add new features. General availability is expected by the end of the second quarter of 2007.

CEO Marc Benioff announced Apex in his firm's Dreamforce conference in San Francisco yesterday.

The new capability allow users to go beyond mere customization of the user interface. It allows customers to add entire chunks of new business logic to the application. According to a presentation on Salesforce.com's website, Apex operates in a fashion similar to triggers and stored procedures.

What's really interesting about Apex, however, is that Salesforce.com is built on a multi-tenant architecture, which means that Apex code for each customer is being segregated from the code from every other customer, even though each customer is running on the same instance of Salesforce.com.

If Salesforce.com is successful with this capability, it removes one more objection to software-as-a-service (SaaS), the inability of individual customers to customize it. It is consistent with the firm's related work on its AppExchange platform, which allows customers to build, share, and sell entire applications running within Salesforce.com's hosted environment.

CNet has a brief article on Benioff's keynote. The Salesforce.com website has quite a bit of information on Apex and how it works.

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Salesforce.com's AppExchange proving its viability for developers

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