The following information is excerpted from
Development with the Force.com Platform: Building Business Applications in the Cloud
Force.com has a rich developer ecosystem:
Developer Force (http://developer.force.com)
Developer Force is a rich source of information on Force.com. It contains documentation, tutorials, e-books written by Salesforce, a blog, and a Wiki with links to many more resources inside and outside of Salesforce.
Developer Discussion Boards (http://community.salesforce.com)
This is a public discussion forum for the Force.com development community. It is divided into a dozen separate boards by technology area. Users post their questions and problems, gripes, and kudos. Other users in the community contribute answers and solutions, including Salesforce employees. The boards are a great way to build a reputation as a Force.com expert and keep current on the latest activity around the platform.
If you have a suggestion for improving Force.com or any Salesforce product, visit the Ideas site and post it. Other users in the community can vote for it. If your idea is popular enough, it might be added to the next release of Force.com. Incidentally, Ideas is a reusable component of Force.com, so you can build your own customized idea-sharing sites.
Code Share (http://developer.force.com/codeshare)
Code Share is a directory of open-source code contributions from the Force.com community, with links to the actual source code hosted on Google Code. Salesforce employees have contributed many projects here. Two notable ones are the Facebook Toolkit, a library for integrating with Facebook, and XmlDom, an XML parsing library modeled after one in Java.
Salesforce provides documentation through online, context-sensitive help within the Web user interface, as well as HTML and PDF versions of its reference manuals. All documentation can be found at Developer Force.
AppExchange is a directory of ready-to-install applications developed on Force.com. The applications consist of metadata, such as Visualforce pages and Apex code, deployable into your Force.com environment. Users can rate applications from one to five stars and write reviews. There are many free applications written by Salesforce employees to illustrate new platform features. Commercial applications are also available for trial and purchase. AppExchange is how ISVs distribute their Force.com applications to customers.
Salesforce has a series of user conferences every year called Dreamforce. San Francisco hosts the largest Dreamforce venue, with thousands attending to participate in training sessions, booths, product demos, keynote speeches, breakout sessions, executive briefings, and, of course, the parties. Dreamforce is a fun way to stay up to date with the technology.
For deployments including significant numbers of users, integration with other enterprise systems, or complex data migrations, consider contracting the services of a systems integrator. There are systems integrators who have competency with Force.com, SFA, SSS, and other Salesforce products. They include pure-play systems integrators such as Appirio or Model Metrics, as well as general consultancies like Accenture.
When you encounter undocumented or incorrect behavior in the system, submit a bug report. If the issue can be described simply, like a cryptic error message, search for it in the discussion groups. In many cases someone else has already run into the same problem before you, posted about it, and attracted the attention of Salesforce employees. If not, the ability to log and track Force.com platform support cases is available in Force.com’s Web user interface.