Developing complex apps on the Salesforce PaaS
DZone recently published a fantastic Refcard of the Salesforce platform, “Salesforce Application Design: Surfing the No-to-Full Code Spectrum.” The author, technical architect, and long-time Salesforce follower, John Esposito, focuses on the various options available for developing complex business applications in the Salesforce environment. He provides a good taxonomy of methods for satisfying business requirements on that platform, moving from low code to fully coded solutions. He also provides some interesting evaluation criteria: pros and cons of using low code versus fully coded tools for delivering on your requirements.
The grey zone of app dev
One of the key points Esposito makes is that within the app builder ecosystem, there’s a need for tools that extend the Salesforce platform and help people build complex business apps without having to deploy full-code solutions. Esposito calls this the “grey zone” in the app builder ecosystem.
“Sometimes, a problem is too complex for Flows but maybe not important enough to justify full-code development. Because such situations are common in enterprise contexts — and because the “Salesforce-y” thing to do is to empower admin clicks as much as possible — a robust ecosystem of third-party rapid application development tools has grown up on the Salesforce PaaS.”
He provides a number of scenarios where tools like this may be the best option: complicated UX requirements, integration with other systems, and custom branding. At Skuid, we’ve encountered instances like this often as our customers work to extend the power of Salesforce.
Additional benefits of a no-code solution
In addition to these scenarios, there are other benefits the “app builder ecosystem” offers that you should consider before jumping straight into code.
1. Leverage the agility that comes with a declarative framework.
Coded solutions grow stale. A declarative framework allows all customers to benefit from toolkit improvements without having to make any modifications to the applications they’re managing. When a product like Skuid adds features to components or optimizes its internal code, you don’t have to code to see these additions in your apps. Salesforce talks about “the power of the platform” and using tools that extend the platform extend this power.
2. Facilitate rapid iteration by keeping the UI layer out of code.
Companies that are most successful with user adoption and data quality are those willing to continually polish the experience to match users’ evolving needs. Whenever the UI layer requires coding, it will be more difficult to iterate and revise. The best builders take the time to review all their screens on a regular basis and determine what’s working, what needs tweaking, what’s valuable, and what’s not. A low-code toolkit makes this reasonable rather than onerous.
3. Expand your contributor pool and reduce backlogs.
Relying on coded solutions for business requirements severely limits the number of people on your staff who can deliver. The Salesforce PaaS has democratized the delivery of business apps by providing tools to non-coders like system admins and business analysts. Any tool that can extend the depth of functionality that’s deliverable without code will further this value. With Skuid, business analysts and administrators can create robust interactions and sophisticated UX. They can address customer issues and adjust applications quickly, too.
As you evaluate how you should develop and maintain business apps, “filling the gap between low code and code solutions” is a smart decision. Skuid is the most complete no-to-low-code solution available on Salesforce.
Are you a Salesforce admin or generally responsible for your company’s Salesforce instance? Check out our guide, The most common Salesforce app development challenges and how to solve them.