Salesforce.com has unveiled sforce, a set of enterprise development tools that work with the company's hosted software and are designed to help programmers extend, build and deploy their own business applications.
Salesforce.com is an ASP that offers hosted CRM software. With sforce, Salesforce.com is extending the "software as utility" concept to software development, offering their subscribers the ability to build new applications and services that access data stored in Salesforce's hosted applications.
The tools will include APIs (application program interfaces) that cover basic data management functions, authentication, document management and text management as well as functions in customer-facing CRM services.
Developers can use the following programming platforms to integrate applications with sforce: Microsoft's Visual Studio, Borland Software's Jbuilder, BEA Systems' WebLogic Workbench and Sun Microsystems's Sun One.
Sforce uses web services standards including Soap, the WSDL (Web Services Description Language), and XML.
Future releases of sforce are scheduled for the autumn and the first quarter of 2004, and will allow developers to extend CRM functionality or create what Salesforce.com calls "client/service" applications, with custom interfaces running in the sforce hosted utility.
Sforce is available online, free of charge for Enterprise Edition customers, at www.sforce.com.
For standalone applications that are built with sforce but are not integrated with existing Salesforce.com applications, the company is offering three user licences and 10Mbytes of free storage.
Additional per-user licences for standalone applications are priced at $50 (£31) per user per month, including 10Mbytes of storage. Additional storage is priced at $1 per 1Mbytes per month.
Rebecca Reid writes for IDG News Service