Under cover of today's announcements, Salesforce.com has quietly rebranded its API platform for what seems like the umpteenth time. For the first few years of its existence, the API was known as sforce, while last year the application-building platform first saw the light of day under the really lame-sounding name of Multiforce, as I noted in one of my earliest blog postings here.
Shortly thereafter, those names were retired with the announcement of the AppExchange marketplace. The platform was renamed Appforce, accompanied by the Appforce API — but only briefly, because when AppExchange went live, it took over Appforce branding.
Now it turns out that it wasn't such a good idea to have the AppExchange marketplace bear the same name as the underlying platform. Customers found it confusing, apparently. So as of today, it has become the Apex platform and Apex API, which helpfully puts all the platform elements under the same branding as the Apex programming language announced last month. Since Apex is a synonym for culmination as well as summit, Salesforce.com's marketing people must be hoping this is the final step in the platform's rebranding journey, otherwise it could be all downhill from here on.
The core of today's announcement was all about connecting, and there was plenty of meat for reporters to get their teeth into while Salesforce.com slipped the Apex rebranding in under the radar. There was ApexConnect (also reported in some quarters as AppConnect, which is an inevitable consequence of downplaying the rebranding). ApexConnect is a new category of the AppExchange marketplace that highlights partner solutions for connecting to the Apex platform and API from other applications, especially on-premises ones. It's not really new but it does have a new name.
ApexConnect is for connecting in to Salesforce.com via the API. Two further announcements did break new ground. OracleConnect is a bidirectional connector between the Oracle-based Apex infrastructure and external Oracle databases, while ConnectOut, as the name suggests, allows Salesforce.com to proactively forward events out to an external infrastructure, which will no doubt produce some interesting challenges for those enterprise IT groups who are still struggling to get to first base with implementing a service-oriented architecture, let alone making it event-driven by external forces.
So altogether now, the announcements allow you to connect in to Salesforce.com, connect out again to your enterprise infrastructure ... and then you turn around again and shake it all about.