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web service time based?

Is it possible to create a web service which will perform some action (ex: create a task, send a report via mail, generate an alert) but time based?
I mean what we need for instance is to generate an alert to some users when a customer reaches is birthday, or after one week of no activity? (thoses kind of alert)
If yes, in which languajes and waht are the best practices when building such web services?
Has always thanks for your support.
Today not  without hosting something yourself, but this is something on our roadmap.

See this idea: http://ideas.salesforce.com/article/show/22861

And please add your comments!
You can also download and use an Open Source integration tool called Jitterbit that has a scheduling service. You can assign an operation to a service that calls Salesforce.com API to perform certain functions at certain times.


Can You please tell me the step by step procedure to create & use the Java Plugin in Jitter bit? If you have any sample Pulgin code please share it.