Dreamforce 2012: Salesforce Adds Social Identity And Mobile App Platform

Salesforce.com has gathered its various platforms together under the Salesforce Platform name, whilst adding a social identity that allows for single sign-on (SSO) to apps built on its cloud services, and a whole new mobile platform.

The Salesforce Platform includes its various Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) products – Force.com, Heroku, Site.com, Database.com, Chatter, Chatter Communities and AppExchange. It will also include Salesforce Identity, providing “Facebook-like identity for the enterprise”.

For IT, it gives them greater power to provision apps and make rules for access and authorisation, Salesforce said during its Dreamforce 2012 conference in San Francisco today. Salesforce Identity won’t be ready until 2013, however.

But for developers, the biggest news of the day at Dreamforce 2012 in San Francisco was the launch of the Touch Platform. It is a mobile app platform that lets developers build apps to work across mobile devices, including those based on Apple iOS and Android. It supports native, HTML5 and hybrid app development, meaning it covers plenty of bases for devs.

APIs will let developers bring in data from the business, leveraging the power what Salesforce is calling the “enterprise social graph”. The  Touch Platform is generally available now as part of Force.com.

The Force is strong…

It all forms part of the “social revolution” that Salesforce.com is asking businesses to embrace.

“This social revolution is being led by many new prophets, like Mark Zuckerburg and Jack Dorsey,” said Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce.com, during his keynote at Dreamforce 2012 today. “The social revolution is a trust revolution.

“This social revolution is unlike anything we’ve ever experienced… Every aspect of our world is changing. That is why this is the most exciting thing that is happening in our industry.”

Benioff said 70 percent of businesses are now using social in some way, whilst an IDC study has shown social has seen a 47 percent annual growth in spend on social.

Meanwhile, other parts of the Salesforce Platform have been given extra functionality, which are available in the winter 2013 lineup of releases. The vendor’s original PaaS service, Force.com, has been given a Canvas, that any any app, regardless of what language it is built in, can run inside of Salesforce using the social identity, meaning legacy apps can run on it.

Heroku Enterprise for Java lets devs create and run Java apps in the cloud, with a full Java stack, multiple-environment runtime and native Java tools. It will cost $1,000 per month per application.

Devs using Salesforce can also use RESTful Chatter APIs to add the vendor’s social service to their apps, thereby feeding into the enterprise social graph.

There is also a new native geo-location field in Database.com, bringing the ability to add location-based functionality to their mobile apps.

Selling apps over Salesforce should now be much easier for devs too, with the  AppExchange Checkout, which offers one-time or automatic billing.

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Thomas Brewster

Tom Brewster is TechWeek Europe's Security Correspondent. He has also been named BT Information Security Journalist of the Year in 2012 and 2013.

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