Thankfully, I survived my four days at Salesforce.com’s annual conference; Dreamforce 2007, all the while nursing a tremendous cold. My apologies to everyone and all I infected. Given the sheer number of people in attendance, my little cold is soon to be a global pandemic.
This was my third Dreamforce and it was interesting to see how much it has grown over time. This year was the first time it took over the entirety of the Moscone Center. With so many vendors, presentations, sessions, and activities it was impossible (and a bit frustrating) to take everything in. With nearly every vendor giving away an iPod as part of some marketing ploy, I felt confident in my chances to win an upgrade to my Treo 650. Alas, my low energy kept me from mustering the effort to collect stamps, spin wheels, and keep up with peppy salespeople. Congratulations to all you winners.
The core of the event was the release of Force.com.
Force.com Platform: A ground-breaking platform for customizing and integrating CRM, as well as developing and deploying brand-new applications.
For anyone, who’s used Salesforce to develop custom apps for processes unrelated to customers and accounts, this is an obvious move. It’s essentially what Microsoft tried to achieve by including Access in the standard Office suite; provide a user-friendly, easy-to-use, flexible database and application development tool for non-technical users. Access never quite hit that mark. While, the highly configurable Salesforce provides wizard-driven features for creating tables, reports, and workflow right out of the box. Moreover, it scales and starts off web-enabled. Hosted SQL without the DBA.
Unfortunately, as with Apex last year, I will have to wait an unreasonably long time to get my hands on the general release of VisualForce (mid-2008?) and the rest of the Winter ’08 features. Reducing this long lag between promise and delivery is why I think Dreamforce 2008 is being moved from September to November. Given the growth, I also predict the venue will be moved to AT&T Park.