What if your user interface (UI) problems could go away? What if you could easily build sexy, simple user interfaces in Force.com's UI platform? What if a Salesforce UI customization platform existed that could keep the principle of customizability intact? Impossible you say?
Read on. If you’re like us, you love Force.com's UI platform for a lot of good reasons, but you’ve had to do some annoying workarounds that end up pushing you away from some of the reasons you chose Force.com in the first place, like:
- Standard layout customizations shouldn’t produce substandard results. The layout builder in Force.com is nice for building and customizing standard page layouts, but to truly make page layouts more usable, admins and developers often resort to Visualforce, spending time and money to make custom UI experiences, leading to point two…
- Custom pages and apps shouldn’t sacrifice customizability. A typical Visualforce page is not customizable without writing more code. Often the only way to make even a small change is to re-engage a developer, leading to point three…
- Re-inventing the wheel is boring. Most customizations are very similar. In fact, it often involves a lot of copying and pasting for developers, applying duplicate code to different objects and fields. It’s such a waste of precious time and resources.
What if these problems could go away?
What if you could easily build sexy, simple UIs in Force.com? What if a Force.com customizable UI platform existed that could keep the principle of customizability intact? What if you could bake most repeated functionality into flexible components, then focus on writing the truly innovative code? Impossible you say? Read on.
What if you could build the sample UI below in minutes, without Visualforce, without APEX, without test code, and without deployments?
Oh, and what if it ran faster than Visualforce, had less clutter than the standard UIs?
Here’s how it would work. It’s the properties and arrangement of components that really matter. If you had a mechanism for arranging components, setting their properties (which objects and fields they’re linked to, their labels, etc.), and storing these layouts, UI design would be so much easier, right?
What about those special cases?
Using prebuilt UI components is fine for most cases, but sometimes you need to do something really different, like an attendance UI, or a drag-and-drop scheduling UI. These are anything but standard.Ideally developers could spend their time making such innovative solutions as the attendance and drag-and-drop scheduler, then add these cool new components to a UI framework to be reused later.
Sounds crazy, right?
Well, we built it and used it every day at Skoodat. We called it Skuid (Scalable Kit for UI Development). It’s been very helpful to us, but we are wondering if it would be helpful to anyone else. We’re thinking about releasing it as a UI development platform where Force.com admins, developers, ISVs, and end users would all benefit.
We’d like to hear your comments and suggestions. If there is enough interest, we’ll put together some documentation and other preparations to make it AppExchange-ready. The Skuid site also includes a quick video demo so you can dig a little deeper.
Here’s a quick look at some of the possible benefits:
- Retain your ability to customize, even with custom apps and layouts.
- Respond more quickly to user requests.
- Evolve your user interface over time.
- Introduce killer new UI features that your users will love.
- Make customizations using a drag-and-drop WYSIWYG editor that’s easy to understand.
Developers and Consultants
- Stop writing the same code over and over again.
- Reuse components that handle your most-commonly requested UI enhancements.
- Minimize deployment hassles.
- Offload small UI customizations to Admins.
- Write safer code, all Nexus components natively enforce record-level and profile-level security settings, so you don’t have to.
- Focus on innovating.
- Write fewer Visualforce Pages/Components.
ISVs and OEMs
- Create your own packages using a prebuilt UI framework and component library.
- Deliver updates seamlessly.
- Customers can easily make one-off changes to your custom user interfaces, without branching/cloning your code, without introducing confusing custom settings, in a drag-and-drop WYSIWYG editor that they can understand.
- Build, package and sell your own custom components and apps.
So check out the Skuid site, then please, let us know what you think.
Have something critical to say about this? Think it’s a dumb idea? We want to hear that too.