Raves for Force radiate from San Francisco

The Dreamforce conference seems to have stoked an already enthusiastic crowd of developers. The reports coming out of the Moscone Center in San Francisco range from merely impressed (the crowd was “very enthusiastic”) up to calling this a pivotal event in the history of software development. Mary Hayes Weier writing at InformationWeek’s Plug Into the Cloud blog was mildly impressed…

I’ve been around the software industry long enough to know that when you see that sort of enthusiasm around a conference, there’s something to pay attention to. It’s wise to be wary about Salesforce.com’s healthy market machine, and Force.com isn’t the only option for what’s sometimes called a platform-as-a-service, and more are coming. (Microsoft’s Azure is set to go live in January.) It’s also unclear how much money Salesforce.com is making off of Force.com, but who cares; that’s an issue between Marc Benioff and his investors.

She cited developer after developer who talked about the ease of creating new applications that were deployed within corporations in a matter of weeks, when the alternative would have taken months.

The most discussion at the event surrounded another preview of Chatter, a Dreamforce platform for discussion and collaboration. It has provoked a fair amount of raves on its own.

At his blog, EveryDayCEO called it monumental and predicted…

We’ll be able to define our own interface in the same way that that we drag icons on our I*phone or Droid. For the the first time, business users–yes, sales people and service people and controllers and CEO’s and marketing vp’s–will be able to dictate their own view into enterprise data.

In fact, he blamed Marc Benioff for failing to adequately convey the significance of Chatter. The official Salesforce description of Chatter is that it will “revolutionize the workplace.” EveryDayCEO says it will destroy Oracle and Microsoft, it is so revolutionary.

But with a price tag of $50/user per month, Chatter will need to be good enough to unseat Microsoft Outlook. Many people are not convinced it can overcome that hurdle.

Ardath Albee at Sys-Con.com wrote…

I was waiting for clarity around how Chatter will help us do business faster and better, but it seemed a lot like adding more “chatter” to an already information intensive work environment.

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