Salesforce.com Releases New Dev Tools, Cloud Computing Support

Salesforce.com has introduced a set of new tools with a pricing model designed to encourage adoption of its Force.com Platform as a Service product introduced last year.

One of the new entries is Force.com Cloud Computing architecture, which can be purchased on a per-login basis. “Cloud computing” refers to the distributed computing model in which many computers and servers are pooled together and managed by software.

“The concept of cloud computing is gaining momentum — it allows developers to build an application as a utility,” said Ariel Kelman, senior director of platform product marketing for Salesforce.com.

The problem with the resources available, however, is that enterprises need more than just the infrastructure on the cloud to build the apps they want, he told CRM Buyer.

Force.com Cloud Computing includes the global infrastructure and services for database, logic, workflow, integration, user interface, application development and application exchange.

Telecom Model

The new pricing model is similar to those used in the telecom industry, Kelman added, in that a company can opt for unlimited usage or per-login, depending on how it uses the application.

More than 50,000 custom applications have been developed with Force.com, such as accounts receivable, bug enhancement tracking, employee compliance and training, emergency room staffing, expense reporting, food ingredient management, recruiting and time management.

The new utility pricing model is flexible. Users in the accounts payable department, for example, may use expense reporting applications on a daily basis. Thus, they would be more likely to pay for unlimited access. Sales or marketing people, on the other hand, may need to access an expense reporting application just once per month on a per-login basis.

Pricing for Force.com Cloud Computing is US$5 per login with a maximum of five logins per user per month. Through the end of this year, users can pay $0.99 per login. Force.com unlimited pricing continues to be $50 per user per month.

Joining the Sandbox

Salesforce.com is also rolling out tools for developers: Force.com Development as a Service. These tools complement the company’s previously released Sandbox — a separate on-demand application environment for development and testing — aand aid developers in building cloud computing applications.

They include the following:

  • Force.com Metadata API. This application programming interface lets developers create and manage the code and metadata used to build applications. It can be integrated with development tools and processes similar to the way the Force.com API integrates with existing applications and systems.
  • Force.com IDE. Built on Eclipse, the Force.com integrated development environment manages standard development tasks, such as project views, HTML (hypertext markup language) composition, and rich code editing with error-tracking.
  • Force.com Code Share. This feature, which integrates with most standards-based source control management systems, including Google’s, allows developers to collaborate on their applications. Developers can store the definitions of their Force.com applications in source control, and deploy those applications in either Force.com Sandbox or production environments.

Force.com Development as a Service tools are now available indeveloper preview.

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