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Salesforce.com offers CRM Web services

Seeking to extend its software-as-service model to Web services development, San Francisco-based Salesforce.com Inc. is offering developers free application tools and access to its online products and support.

Dubbed sforce, the new initiative can help developers to build component-based applications using salesforce.com products for sales force automation, customer service, support management and marketing automation.

"We're introducing a set of Web services that allow you to build applications that may be new to the CRM space where Salesforce.com plays in," explained Mike Kreaden, the company's director, product and technology alliances.

The sforce effort is backed by partnerships Salesforce.com has formed with BEA, Microsoft, Borland and Sun, Kreaden said. Developers working with sforce will be assured compliance with SunONE Studio tools, Microsoft's Visual Studio .NET, Borland JBuilder and BEA WebLogic Workshop, he said.

Salesforce.com is basing sforce on the basic XML Web services standards, including WSDL and SOAP, according to Kreaden. The company envisions sforce developers as building CRM applications not only for office workers with PCs, but also for mobile workers using PDAs and smart phones.

To promote development, Salesforce.com is providing sforce to developers without charge, according to Kreaden. Existing Salesforce.com customers can get the Web services applications without additional charge, he said. New customers would pay a monthly fee, he added.

The sforce Developer Program, including sample code, technical support, tools and Salesforce.com Developer Edition, is available for download from the sforce Web site found at www.sforce.com.

About the Author

Rich Seeley is Web Editor for Campus Technology.

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