Is a bigger announcement necessarily better? When it comes to empowering developers, I think I can make the case that putting the capstone on an already proven structure is at least as exciting as unveiling a whole new building — whose strength and stability are yet to be shown.
That’s the significance, it seems to me, of today’s announcement — which I thought, silly me, might actually be kept under wraps until next week — of Visualforce, which decisively answers the only serious remaining objection of independent software vendors to the idea of building their product on the salesforce.com platform. Developers have told me that they can’t take us seriously as a platform until they can build an application that looks original and bears their own brand. Now, they can.
There are other service-delivery announcements expected in the coming week, and some have said that the drama of unveiling an entire new product line and business model trumps the salesforce.com completion of a picture that’s been gradually painted over the last several years. Drama and excitement are nice, I suppose, but seeing a series of promises made and kept — and in many cases, more than kept — does a lot more for me.