Salesforce.com unveils hosted development platform

Can extend company's CRM service to multiple platforms, exec says

Salesforce.com Monday kicked off its annual Dreamforce user conference by unveiling Force.com, a new on-demand development platform to help businesses create applications for multiple platforms.

CEO Marc Benioff said the Force.com platform includes the company's new Visualforce technology, which enables end users and businesses to design, build and orchestrate native application interfaces on any device screen with Web access.

During a demonstration of the technology at the conference, held in San Francisco, Benioff used its page-based model format to draw upon 50 preconfigured Salesforce.com components to create a customized interface and workflow on Apple's iPhone mobile device. He noted that the software can be used to create applications for any device, including desktop computers, tablets, BlackBerries, kiosks and medical devices.

Salesforce.com said the Visualforce technology, which will be previewed for developers later this month, taps Web technologies such as HTML, AJAX and Flex to allow developers to imprint Salesforce.com code directly onto their own applications.

The software includes a component library that can be used to build new add-on applications for Salesforce.com's hosted CRM service.

The company also noted that Force.com enables multiple Salesforce tools to be shared across the same instance, producing a common security infrastructure, data model, business logic and user interface.

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