I really like Salesforce.com, not just because it makes good products, but because it’s at the forefront of providing business software as a service over the internet. The company has moved from simply providing customer relationship management (CRM) software, to becoming a credible on-demand alternative to traditional business applications hosted on-site.
Last year, Salesforce introduced its AppExchange tools to allow customers to customize their CRM software to better meet their needs and to create and run entirely new business apps on the Salesforce software platform. Now, they’ve just released details about its next step in making software as a service more powerful and useful: The Apex programming language. This release gives developers access to the same tools used by Salesforce programmers to create the company’s products, creating a million possibilities of what can be made and run on their servers.
I often cite Salesforce as a company who “gets it”, and their offering up Apex to outsiders is another example of this. While the thought of learning a customized programming language isn’t very appealing (Apex appears to be a combination of Java and SQL), the fact that it’s available at all is what’s big. This, combined with the Salesforce web services APIs create a very compelling web-based platform to build on.
It’s quite clear that Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff has high aspirations for the company. Let’s hope they don’t extend to complete world domination: