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UI the next platform step for Salesforce.com

Moving from CRM vendor to platform vendor, Salesforce.com will unveil a tool allowing developers to build user interfaces based on Salesforce.com technology.

At its upcoming Dreamforce user conference next week, Salesforce.com will reveal the next step forward in its evolution from a CRM company into a Software as a Service (SaaS) platform provider.

Dubbed Force.com, the latest move builds on the San Francisco-based company's Apex, a Java-like programming language the company unveiled at last year's Dreamforce. Customers can tailor Salesforce.com's technology to their needs and have it hosted by Salesforce.com offsite, accessible via the Internet. In addition, earlier this year, the company began offering a

Users will be able to shift around existing user interfaces with new wizards and processes. Features will include a pages capability, allowing developers to create new pages; components, allowing developers to assemble existing Salesforce.com UI elements and reuse them and custom designed components; and logic controllers, which can reuse standard Salesforce.com UI behavior like new. For example, Salesforce.com adapted its application for Apple's iPhone, and it could potentially be used to adapt applications for kiosks or tablet PCs.

Pricing will start at $25 per user per month and vary depending on the number of platform capabilities an organization requires. Visualforce will be available as a developer preview for Dreamforce attendees and is scheduled to be generally available in the fourth quarter.

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