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A Skuid developer’s review of building a Salesforce app with the Boston release.

I’ve been at Skuid for five years and have developed dozens of enterprise Salesforce apps with our application development and design toolkit. My nickname around here is “Don Declarative” because I build using as many Skuid no-code features as possible.

When developing for major enterprise companies, like CBRE or HPE, needs are complex, the user requirements are abundant, and processes are highly unique to the business. Even with a low-code toolkit like Skuid, there are times when code is required to complete the use case and create the best user experience possible. However, with the upcoming release of Skuid Boston, every new feature and enhancement was created to give builders like me even more declarative control and flexibility over the development process than before. This means we can create better Salesforce apps, faster.

Building a high-performance project management Salesforce app using the Skuid Boston release.

One of my latest projects is working on a project management app for an international commercial real estate and logistics distribution service. The challenge was to go from a spreadsheet to a collaborative application using real-time data. Using Skuid, we developed a project management office (PMO) app that gave a clean, contemporary view of their business process, displaying the most important content with clear calls-to-action.

One way the Boston release makes this better is by providing more options for table action configuration. The project management app heavily leverages the Skuid row and mass actions on tables to deliver important end-user functionality. As the app has grown, more and more row actions are required to offer all the functionality the customer wants. While this is fine, I wanted a clean way to offer all these features. With the Boston release, I’m able to collapse several actions, links, and exports into one elegant button using a pulldown menu.

For more information on Skuid table features, see here.

More design control with less code.

While building the PMO app, we leaned heavily on my favorite Skuid feature, Design System Studio (DSS), which lets me create a branded design system so that the visuals throughout the app are consistent, delightful, and beautiful—all declaratively, without the need for CSS.

The Boston release includes DSS enhancements like field styling to fine-tune field styles for Form and Table components, the ability to customize “required fields” indicators, more flexible spacing rem or px spacing for on-screen elements as the screen size changes, and many new style variants. We are already leveraging some of these new features in the PMO app.

In the composer, the new text wrapping and row height properties in the Table component let me fine-tune how data is displayed to my end user. Within the PMO app, there are often long account names that I want to display clearly without having to use special CSS. With these new features, I have full control over table row height and overflow content, and I can eliminate even more technical debt.

For more on Form and Table components, click here.

Declarative efficiency means better control over data entry and display.

Fields, forms, and tables are the core building blocks of any app. The Boston release gives me better control over data entry and display by letting me control how these components look and work—without having to write code.

One key feature on the PMO app’s table is having a cell’s color highlight an important status. Say I want all “hot” accounts to display in red, “warm” in yellow, and “cold” in blue. Previously, this required CSS to accomplish, but with the Boston release, I can present field design variants (there are many new ones to choose from) on the form and the table, and it’s easy to declaratively configure in Composer.  And, if you do need to code, Boston still offers a traditional CSS editor.

Another key feature in the PMO app is the ability to display multiple dates within one table cell, delivering highly-customized data entry and display experiences to the app. Before the Boston release, this feature had to be done entirely with code. With the Boston release, not only do I have more field render choices, I’m now able to use DSS assets, further reducing my previous dependence on CSS. I can also use a declarative foundation with easy access to Skuid Models, Actions, Formulas, and more. The best part is I can now share my special field render with other Skuid builders via a simple copy/paste.

Under the hood: Improved metadata caching of Salesforce models. 

Just to show that not all the cool new Boston stuff is admin, developer, or end-user facing, I want to highlight an under-the-hood feature that will make all Skuid apps better. The release Boston offers a dramatically improved approach for the caching of Skuid models for Salesforce. What does this mean? It means all our pages load, display, and perform much faster.

Bringing it all together.

The Skuid product team always offers Salesforce app developers cool and exciting features with every new release. I believe that the Boston release is the best release yet. During these times, it’s more important than ever to build a UI/UX app quickly. If you’re looking for ways to reduce technical debt and increase performance for your customers and improve time to market, Boston certainly delivers on all counts.

Learn more about the Boston release here.

Solutions Architect

I am an app wizard, locavore, avid mountain biker and vintage record collector. I like baseball, urban walks and Cajun food.