Business & Technology Nexus

Dave Stephens on technology and business trends

Salesforce.com unveils APEX

with 4 comments

Salesforce.com has unveiled a new on-Demand Programming Language called ABAP, oops I mean PL/SQL, oops I mean APEX.

Take a look for yourselves. What is great is that potentially this forces partners into a proprietary salesforce.com scheme for building applications. Write Once, Run Only On Salesforce.com. But if they can generate the marketing buzz & get IT departments and start-ups drifting that way, they could be mighty successful. The lock-in works for their business model, and VC’s hate to fund a start-ups SaaS “learnings” on how to do 24x7x365.

Neat stuff!

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Written by Dave Stephens

10/9/06 9:17 PM at 9:17 pm

Posted in IT, Opinion, Technology

4 Responses

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  1. One can’t swing a dead cat around here (Boston-Rte. 128) without hitting an Ajax play. I’m sure it’s the same in the Valley, Dave. So, kinda early here, maybe I’ll go back to… yawn… sleep…

    Eric Strovink

    10/10/06 4:00 AM at 4:00 am

  2. I like your Write Once , Run Only on Salesforce.com :)

    My comments here http://crm.davidyack.com/journal/2006/10/9/salesforcecom-raises-the-barbut.html

    David YAck

    10/10/06 8:44 PM at 8:44 pm

  3. Let me take a step back and talk about

    http://www.jcp.org/en/jsr/detail?id=223

    Java has been there for more than a decade now and inspite of providing the ability to load classes dynamically, it is still trying to provide the ability to invoke any scripting engine using a standard interface. This is going to be part of JDK 6.0 (The Mustang version) and I am really looking forward to it. Why? Because, I like JavaScript engine http://www.mozilla.org/rhino/ as all serious web developers have to know JavaScript, but I also like BeanShell http://www.beanshell.org/ because it allows scripting using purely Java syntax so that one can compile the script into a java class at a later time there by offering the benefits of both the worlds. Then there is Groovy and others which I heard but didn’t work much but am sure there are lovers of these scripting engines too.

    Prior to Java’s JAXP (Java API for XML Processing), there was no standard and there were various xml parsers each with it’s own way of initialization so plugging in another implementation of XML processing a code-change task. But all that changed with JAXP.

    So, why I am talking about this JSR? Thing is, in the absense of such a standard to invoke any scripting engine of one’s liking, salesforce.com has to move on immediately. So, they came up with this APEX. Ideally, they probably should have choosen JavaScript only because their applications are delivered through web and most web developers wouldn’t have had to learn yet another language. Even otherwise, given that their servers are Java based (see http://www.salesforce.com/landing/apex_brief_overview.jsp), in the next year or later, they should be able to allow developers use their own scripting language (among a few popular ones) which can be invoked using a standard interface. APEX is really a scripting language per their description and is being interpreted by ATNLR based interpreter written in Java.

    So, technically nothing prevents them to open up their framework to let people write code using their favorite (and popular, only so that you don’t want someone asking for writing code in http://home.arcor.de/partusch/html_en/bfd.html or some such language less popular). But it all depends on their business strategy as to whether or not they will do it.

    Well, all this could just be my wishful thinking.

    AnonymousCoward

    10/11/06 6:49 PM at 6:49 pm

  4. i just think it’s tough for a company to say “ya, i’ll completely lock myself into salesforce.com” and write procedural code a la PL/SQL, get a channel into IT departments & essentially have a dead-end technology & a dead-end product in 18 months. the most “carnivorous” entrepreneurs might do it – to make a quick buck not to build a sustainable business. and of course they’ll all just want to be scooped up by sforce via acquisition. so i understand the move from sforce.com perspective – it’s brazen and bold & unpretentious about lock-in. and it is a cheap way to find out what works with customers & buy the little companies that prove they’ve found a market

    separately, i do think APEX fills a void on SaaS customizations for customers – in that regard i think it’s wonderful.

    Dave Stephens

    10/11/06 7:09 PM at 7:09 pm


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