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As part of the release of Force.com Sites , Salesforce has made available a Free 100-user Force.com Platform account . This makes it very easy for people to construct web-based database apps without infrastructure worries. It’s so simple, that even a Business Analyst can do it!

This is similar to the standard Free Developer Edition account, which offers a 2-user, fully-featured Salesforce.com CRM/SFA account, which is great for developers and evaluators.

The Force.com offering, however, is even more amazing. It’s a fantastic Google-like move, aimed at gathering momentum for their platform offering. The Force.com multi-tenant architecture means that giving the free accounts won’t consume many additional resources, aside from storage and some processing when people are online. But it’s a great way to attract people away from traditional alternatives like in-house database apps built on Microsoft Access or SQL Server.

The Force.com platform includes a database, highly configurable UI, workflow, Java-like customisation language that includes Triggers and web services, field-level security, API, the new publicly-accessible Sites offering and heaps more. It’s everything you need to make web-based custom apps, without the Developer!

I’m already thinking of some apps that I could deploy to the free Force.com platform offering — small systems involving just a few people, that would otherwise require me to get a developer to write a Grails-based app, or reuse some of our existing systems to do things a bit outside their intended design.

Interestingly, it means I’ll be creating a free Force.com org separate from my company’s existing Enterprise license because I don’t want to use my full-priced Enterprise CRM licenses for users who just need access to a simple database app. It would be much better if Salesforce gave me 100 free Platform licenses to add to my existing Enterprise org — less logins, more centralised data. Alas, at $50/user/month (or the current special of $20/user/month if I buy a license for every employee) is too expensive to justify the simple apps. So, free version it is for me!

The Terms & Conditions attached to the Free Force.com account are:

  • 100 Users
  • 10 Custom Objects per user
  • 10MB storage per user (so 1GB in total)
  • Various restrictions are Sites and processing time

However, reading the fine print also reveals that Salesforce do not actually enforce these limits. Rather, it’s up to the customer to ensure, for example, that a particular user profile can only access a maximum of 10 custom objects. They balance this with the right to audit and the requirement to purchase full-version licenses if the limits are violated.

Edit: Oops. I originally said $50/user/year. It’s actually $50/user/month. (Thanks Chun!)

The Bottom Line

  • The Force.com Platform is great for creating custom web-based apps
  • The free Force.com Platform offer is very attractive for small-scale apps
  • This will help publicise Force.com as a viable development platform

6 Responses to “Free Force.com 100-user Orgs, Wow!”

  1. Chun Says:

    Hi, I believe you meant $50/user/month.

  2. Steve Says:

    If you are an existing customer, you can add the 100 free Force.com licenses to your existing account.

    No, you do not need to open a new account. You can add the 100 free force.com licenses to your existing account. Customers who have access to Checkout can get 100 Force.com Free Edition seats via self-service. Instructions are provided below. Customers who do not have access to Checkout need to contact their sales representative.

    Instructions for Existing Customers to add Force.com Free Edition via Checkout

    1. Login to the salesforce app

    2. Select “Force.com Checkout” in the “Force.com Apps” Menu. If this is your first visit to Checkout, a portal user will automatically be created and you will receive an email. After receiving the email, proceed to Force.com Checkout.

    3. Depending on whether you have existing Quotes on Checkout, you will either be launched into a Quote or you can select “Create New Quote”

    4. In the Quote window, you will see 5 tabs across the top: Basic Information, Salesforce Edition, Additional Products, Partner Products, Quote Summary. On the Editions tab, select “Force.com Free Edition”. The Quantity defaults to 100. The price is $0.

    5. Continue through to the Quote Summary tab and select the “Checkout” button.

    6. Continue through to the Order Review tab, click the box to agree to the legal terms, then select “Place Order” button

    7. You will receive an email that your order has been placed.

  3. Gigi Says:

    I would like to know if is true that for any company to obtain or purchase The Force.com platform has to go through a VAR.

    Can anyone confirm this?

    Thanks

  4. The Enforcer Says:

    @Gigi

    I would like to know if is true that for any company to obtain or purchase The Force.com platform has to go through a VAR.

    You can signup online for free (typically for a trial period), and then purchase full licenses directly from Salesforce. I don’t think you need to involve a VAR.

  5. amit saha Says:

    1. I am salesforce developer.
    We are trying to build one application on Force.com- one app license.
    As you know with force.com, there is a limitation of 10 custom objects per user.
    I dont understand what does it mean.I have almost tested by creating 35 objects.But i could create only 25 tabs. Then what does the limit of 10 custom objects per user means.
    Your help will be appreciated.
    Thanking You,
    Amit Saha

  6. The Enforcer Says:

    The original Terms & Conditions said that the limit is not enforced, but if they find that you have violated the conditions then you automatically agree to purchase Full licenses for ALL your users. However, I can’t find that wording on any of the current price lists.