Salesforce.com is to give programmers the functionality to link its on-demand applications to improve the sharing of data between different programs and business processes.
The company provides customer relationship management (CRM) software as a service over the internet, which can reduce hardware costs for user companies. However, most business processes that use software - such as processing a purchase order from issue to delivery - can require a much closer exchange of information between applications.
In line with this, Salesforce SOA (Service Oriented Architecture) will be a new capability of the Apex programming language that will allow developers to reuse software components and link data in a more seamless manner.
"In the on-premise world, this would be pretty hard to implement and costly, requiring code and perhaps a bit of hardware to manage the workflow," said Clarence So, senior vice-president at Salesforce.com.
Using Apex and Salesforce SOA, So said this could be a 30 minute job for an Apex developer or Salesforce.com system administrator, with all of the code running in Salesforce.com's datacentres.
Salesforce.com said developers would be able to use the programming language to do everything from creating custom components, customising and modifying existing Salesforce.com code and creating triggers, to building and executing complex business logic and composite applications.
Gartner research vice-president John Radcliffe said organisations should start planning how to rebalance their CRM application portfolio to include composite applications and orchestrated processes based on SOA.
"Although better business process orchestration will become the major reason for adopting SOA, companies must consider the management of software they have across business processes currently, and data standardisation and master data management between applications," he said.
The Salesforce SOA capability of Apex is scheduled to be available as a developer preview in August, and it will be launched with the complete version of Apex in December.
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