|Type||Web productivity tools|
Force.com is a cloud computing platform as a service system from Salesforce.com, part of the overall Salesforce1 platform, that developers use to build multitenant applications hosted on their servers as a service.
According to a September, 2009 Gartner Group report, Force.com had over 1,000 customer accounts, in addition to tens of thousands that used Force.com in conjunction with Salesforce.com. Force.com uses eight data centers, with each customer fully contained in a single data center that is replicated for availability.
At Dreamforce 2013 Adam Seligman announced that the Force.com platform now had 1.4 million registered developers  an increase of some 600,000 on the previous year.
Apex is a proprietary programming language provided by the force.com platform to developers similar to Java. It is a strongly typed, object-oriented programming language, following a dot-notation and curly-brackets syntax. Apex can be used to execute programmed functions during most processes on the Force.com platform including custom buttons and links, event handlers on record creation, updates or deletions and via the custom controllers of Visualforce pages.
Due to the multitenant nature of the platform the language has strictly imposed governor limitations to guard against any code monopolizing shared resources. Salesforce have provided a series of asynchronous processing methods for Apex to allow developers to produce longer running and more complex apex code.
The App Exchange is a online application marketplace for third-party applications that run on the Force.com platform. Applications are available for free, as well as yearly or monthly subscription models. Applications available range from integrations with Sharepoint, to mobile approval management.
The Force.com platform receives three complete releases a year. As the platform is provided as a service to its developers, every single development instance also receives all these updates. All existing code is left running on the version of the platform it was last compiled on, and platform still supports every version right back to 1.0 (in 2004). Though the releases are monitored by numbers internally, as there are three releases a year, synchronized with three seasons, they are commonly referred to by their Season and their year, such as Winter '13 (API 26.0) Spring '14 (API 30.0) Summer '14 (API 31.0). Autumn is the only season not to have a major release, but it coincides with Dreamforce the Salesforce flagship conference, at which a number of off-cycle releases are typically made instead.
Salesforce provide Force.com Developers with a support community, known as DeveloperForce. As well as providing official Forums, free published workbooks, a specific Stack Exchange, the IRC channel #salesforce connect, and Influitive advocacy program, Salesforce support over 100 Developer User Groups around the world, with more than 16,000 members (as of September 2014), anyone can attend their local user group to meet fellow developers, take part in challenges and widen their Force.com developer network and skills.
There is also a group of elected Salesforce and Force.com "Most Valued Professionals" (MVPs). These are non-Salesforce-employee members of the community who stand out for their contribution to the platform and community, assisting and engaging other Force.com developers, answering questions, and writing Wikipedia articles. MVPs are nominated and elected three times a year in line with the platform updates. There are currently around 142 total MVPs for Salesforce, with 32 of them being Force.com MVPs from the developer arena.
Several criticisms of force.com's integrated development environment and developer friendliness have been made, including lack of support for multiple developers, speed problems with developing on the cloud, and a failure to properly separate Salesforce.com from Force.com. The platform has been described[by whom?] as having potential but currently only appropriate for Salesforce.com customers who want to extend Salesforce, not for independent developers who want to use Force.com as a standalone platform.