According to Ariel Kelman, senior director of Force.com marketing, the Free Edition covers a single application with up to 100 users and a single Web site with up to 250,000 page views per month. The plan includes all Force.com capabilities, up to 10 custom objects, a "sandbox" development environment, free online training and a library of sample apps. Users of the Free Edition can upgrade from there as needed, with pricing beginning at $50 per user per month.
Kelman points out that for many small businesses and non-profits, the Free Edition of Force.com may be all that they ever need. That's especially true since anyone can sign up without having to tie themselves to a particular company. Theoretically, a single organization could have several free implementations attributed to different users, though they wouldn't necessarily be tied together.
Force.com Sites Goes Live Force.com Sites, meanwhile, was first announced at Salesforce.com's Dreamforce 2008 event last November (see Salesforce.com Extends Platform To Host Web Sites). Since then it's been in a small private beta with about 85 customers, Kelman said. As of today, though, it's being released to Salesforce.com's entire customer base.
Basically, Force.com Sites allows developers to use the Force.com platform to build Web sites as well as applications. According to Kelman, these site can work with Salesforce.com databases and workflows, and can be easily integrated with back-office applications.
Kelman offered a couple of examples of midsize companies using Force.com Sites, including ThomasNet, which connect buyers and suppliers of industrial and business products. The company is using Sites to extend its internal systems to the Web, automatically publishing Web pages and combining them into complete Web sites integrated with ThomasNet's Force.com database in real-time.
ThomasNet uses Force.com Sites to publish its job-opening pages directly to the Web.
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