So I returned from my two week vacation in Europe last night and was looking forward to spending today catching up on emails and seeing where my projects stand. Little did I know but Salesforce.com had other plans for me. Throughout the day I was bombarded by tweets with announcements from Salesforce.com!

Force.com Sites goes GA

When Force.com Sites wasn't in the release notes and when it didn't go live with Summer '09 there was some speculation on when it actually would. In early May, the product manager, Bulent Cynarkaya, was tight-lipped about the actual release date and his only comments were that he would release more information sometime "in June". Fortunately Force.com Sites went GA late Sunday night and I actually received the notification from one of my posts on the Sites Pilot message board.

According to Salesforce.com, this is "A revolutionary new capability of the Force.com platform, Force.com Sites allows you to run your Web site and Web applications in our cloud. No hardware. No software. No infrastructure required. Just your Sites and our Cloud."

There's a really nice Sites gallery showcasing some of the finer sites that have been built (my pilot site didn't seem to make the cut??) along with a really sharp video. Developers can check out the Introduction to Force.com Sites to see how easy it is to get started.

Nonprofit Starter Pack Released as Open Source

Steve Anderson made the announcement today that all of the code for the nonprofit starter pack is now available as an open source project. This is great news for me and MediSend International, my favorite non-profit. MediSend is currently using the Nonprofit Starter Pack and I am migrating a number of Java/SQL Server applications to the Force.com platform. Having access to the code will definitely make my life easier. If you are interested in getting involved, you should take a look at the Google project.

Force.com Free Edition Released

This one caught me by surprise. The Force.com Free Edition is "a new offering that provides everything companies need to build and run their first cloud computing app - for free". The new edition allows companies to build their first cloud application to get their feet wet and then scale up to more functionality as needed. There are some limitations to the free edition but it includes a Force.com Site and essentially everything they need to get started, including a sandbox.

You can sign up for your Force.com Free Edition here.

Balakrishna Narasimhan at Appirio has a good analysis of what Force.com Sites and the Force.com Free Edition means for businesses. You can read it here.