Dreamforce 2011: Chatter and HTML5 releases aim at social enterprise


Salesforce.com today made a host of additions to its social collaboration service Chatter, as well as adding HTML5 capabilities for mobile apps delivered on the company's platforms.

This morning at Dreamforce 2011, a wide range of new Chatter features were announced many focusing on the social aspect of company operations.

"Chatter is becoming the leader in employee social networking," chief executive of Salesforce.com Marc Benioff said.

One major new addition is presence. Chatter Now will show when colleagues are online, allowing for instant communication and screen sharing.

For those who have been watching HTML5, it's as important as HTML when it first came out.

Customer Groups within Chatter will allow businesses to interact with others outside of their organisation via private groups, including customers.

The Approvals feature, meanwhile, will let users take action on anything to do with the approval process within Chatter. Approval processes will contain "context" as well, to help make better decisions at the sales level.

Chatter Service combines one of the vendor's big money earners the Service Cloud with the social collaboration tool to provide a simpler portal for customer interaction. The feature hooks up with major sites like Facebook so customers can get in touch via a "familiar social feed."

The Chatter contact pages have changed too, pulling in all contacts from LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, helping to build "social profiles," just as the newly-announced Data.com is attempting to do.

The Service and screen sharing additions will be generally available in 2012, whilst the other features will come out in early 2011.

Chatter Service and screen sharing will also come with separate pricing, with the others supplied free for all Chatter customers.

More Chatter for developers

Salesforce.com also announced a number of other Chatter enhancements aimed more at developers.

Chatter Connect will allow developers to create custom and third-party apps for the social collaboration service. The new Chatter REST API, meanwhile, lets users integrate Chatter into other applications, such as intranets.

Chatter for SharePoint allows for embedding of Chatter feeds into the Microsoft-run collaboration product, as well as share documents across the two services.

Chatter Connect is available today for free, whilst the SharePoint addition is scheduled for release in late 2011, also for free.

Adding HTML5

Salesforce.com does not want to miss out on the shift to HTML5 either, announcing Touch.salesforce.com for mobile devices.

The app means users will be able to access Salesforce.com services, whether they be apps provided by the cloud company or customer created applications, via their touch devices.

"Improvements in hardware are being complemented by huge shift in software. For those who have been watching HTML5, it's as important as HTML when it first came out," Benioff said.

"We were huge believers in HTML in the beginning - it's a no-brainer to rapidly bring in HTML5. How you use Salesforce on these mobile devices is going to change."

According to Salesforce.com, the app will work with any mobile platform.

It's hoped the service will inspire developers to create improved mobile-oriented apps too.

Tom Brewster

Tom Brewster is currently an associate editor at Forbes and an award-winning journalist who covers cyber security, surveillance, and privacy. Starting his career at ITPro as a staff writer and working up to a senior staff writer role, Tom has been covering the tech industry for more than ten years and is considered one of the leading journalists in his specialism.

He is a proud alum of the University of Sheffield where he secured an undergraduate degree in English Literature before undertaking a certification from General Assembly in web development.