Salesforce.com adds ability to consume Web services in Apex

With his typical heralding of the end of software , salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff now says that his company is bringing the "end of software to SOA" and removing "the barriers of software infrastructure that have been imposed by SAP, Oracle, and Microsoft.

With his typical heralding of the end of software , salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff now says that his company is bringing the "end of software to SOA" and removing "the barriers of software infrastructure that have been imposed by SAP, Oracle, and Microsoft.”

Beyond the rhetoric and snipping at competitors, the company, which makes software, is announcing Salesforce SOA at its Developer Conference in Santa Clara this week.

It basically adds the capability to use the company's Apex development platform to consume, rather than just produce Web services. It's a natural extension of salesforce.com's on demand Apex development platform, which previously was able to represent business processes within Salesforce, but could extend out to communicate with and incorporate other Web services, such as from Oracle Financials, SAP Order Management and FedEx, according to Adam Gross, salesforce.com vice president of developer marketing.

"We are able to read the WSDL and generate Apex Code and stitch processes together on our server," said Parker Harris, Salesforce.com executive vice president of technology.

"We think Salesforce SOA will democratize SOA, making it used in situations and by more kinds of companies than it is today--much like Salesforce did for CRM," Gross added.

I don't know about democratization, except that as it pertains to using the Apex platform, Salesforce SOA will make it easier for developers to integrate and reuse Web services. The same could be said of SAP's NetWeaver platform, for example, but salesforce.com cites its marriage of on demand and SOA as the path to the "end of software," as previously known, and the paradise of software-as-a-service. With a billion dollars in annual revenue in sight next year, salesforce.com has shown that software-as-a-service is alive and well, but the 'old' software is still breathing.

SOA is scheduled for developer preview in August and Apex general availability is slated for December, according to the company.

Screencast of Salesforce SOA

Updated 5/21 9:15 AM PST