Salesforce Broadens Dev Community via VS Integration

Charlotte Dunlap – Principal Analyst, Application Platforms

Summary Bullets:

• Salesforce embraces Microsoft VS to bring Salesforce developers a popular tool in a web-based environment

• Salesforce downplayed AI innovations including Lightning Flow intelligent automation

During last week’s digital conference Salesforce TrailheaDX, the company released a number of developer toolkits, including a browser-based code builder, DevOps Center console, and beta serverless offering. The announcements created a lot of buzz among its own community of developers (who are itching to get their hands on the serverless capabilities). New Visual Studio integrations with Salesforce Code Builder are aimed at attracting a broader pool of web-based developers onto the Salesforce platforms in order to upsell high-value services such as Functions, Einstein AI, and SOQL Query Builder.

Code Builder, powered by Microsoft Visual Studio Codespaces tool, is customized for Salesforce platforms, making it easier to develop on its platforms without having to change tools. The pilot product gives developers the VS experience for the Salesforce environment delivered in a web-based IDE, versus the previously delivered Eclipsed-based tooling from Force.com.

Salesforce Functions represents the company’s move to keep in step with cloud rivals’ serverless computing technologies (e.g., AWS Lambda), and development trends in general by adding capabilities to its platform. Users are clamoring for details around pricing of the beta product, which have not yet been hammered out, Salesforce executives told GlobalData. We expect the company to release tiered pricing, including a free version. The serverless solution, which will be tied closely to the Salesforce platforms, will allow developers and ISVs to build apps with computational processes previously unattainable say with Apex, because of the lack of support for scalability requirements associated with too many spikes.

DevOps Center management console is all about lowering the bar of complexity in developing and deploying apps via Salesforce platforms, particularly for admin types taking apps from testing into production. The console is based on Salesforce’s messaging around source-driven development and access to a command line interface (CLI) for a more intuitive experience around application lifecycle management.

The company spoke much less about its advanced technologies, such as intelligent automation innovations delivered through Salesforce Lightning Flow. This emerging solution couples AI (via Einstein) and robotics (via RPA partnerships) to promote two use cases: automating repetitive tasks across API-less systems (i.e., when APIs are not yet available) with RPA; and automate customer service with chatbots. Salesforce’s ability to integrate its DevOps console with this level of automation will indeed signal a real merging of developer and operations tasks.

Usual growing pains of moving to virtual conference ensued last week, including numerous chatbox complaints about streaming issues. More and more vendors, including Salesforce, are relying on major social media sites including Twitter and LinkedIn to pick up the slack on digital conference streaming gaps.

 

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