With the change of seasons comes a change in Salesforce.com.
The company today released Salesforce Summer '07, which marks the availability of its Apex development language and a new buzzword to learn.
Software as a service (SAAS) is now passé. Say hello to Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), which is Salesforce.com's on-demand applications combined with Apex, a Java-like programming language.
"The way you define platform-as-a-service is that, for the first time, you have a way to build apps as a service," explained Kendall Collins, senior vice president of product marketing for Salesforce.com (Quote).
"You can be anywhere in the world, log in, write code that saves on our servers, tests and runs on our servers, and share that anywhere in the world."
Applications built using Apex code can be made available as a Web service and are accessible via SOAP and XML standards. Developers have been working with the new language since January.
Apex and PaaS together allow customers to either modify existing on-demand services or write and modify their own applications. All applications written with Apex are 100 percent multi-tenant, so they are automatically upgraded at the same time as the Salesforce service.
Summer '07 also adds multi-instances for development environments. In the Winter '06 release, Salesforce.com added the ability to make an exact duplicate of a customer's production environment, so they could use it for testing purposes. Summer '07 now allows for multiple instances to do a variety of tests and development work.
Also new is what's called Enterprise Intelligent Workflow, which allows for the creation of complex rules and approvals by adding formulas in workflow. Any type of workflow process, from complex case assignment rules to price discount approvals can be custom written.
The intelligent workflow functions are for non-programmers who can't wrestle with Apex.