Flex and Force.com are a powerful combination for building data-driven web
applications. Force.com platform is the same platform that underlies the
well-known salesforce.com customer relationship management (CRM) and
salesforce automation (SFA) software. These applications "run in the cloud,"
hosted on servers which are secured and maintained by salesforce.com, and
accessed via the web on personal computers and mobile devices.
Force.com is analogous to Amazon Web Services (AWS) in that both the salesforce.com and Amazon corporations rent out the computing infrastructure on which they run their core businesses. However,
while Amazon Web Services still requires you to do some of the software "heavy lifting" to get your
application running, Force.com takes care of just about everything except the actual business logic
that’s specific to your application, and which embodies the true value of your work. Typically, setting
up a "serious" web application involves a lot of time and effort that contributes little value, but which is nonetheless a prerequisite to deploying the application. Building on Force.com, however, frees you
from most of the distracting, time-sucking tasks so you can focus on the business logic and build a
great application faster.
Force.com platform is not just for building sales- or CRM-related software; you can create just about any data-driven web application, and, thanks to Flex, the application can have any custom user interface. Force.com, especially with Flex on the front end, is a very attractive alternative to .net or PHP/MySQL, and, in fact, you may find that it’s often a great choice for even relatively-simple applications that would otherwise be developed with Microsoft Access and asp.net, for example.