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Salesforce1 Lightning Streamlines Mobile App Development

By - Source: Toms IT Pro

Salesforce's next generation development platform is all about speed. Just one year after the company released Salesforce1, the platform is receiving a major makeover that is changing the way business apps are built. Salesforce1 Lightning allows companies to build custom employee and customer-facing applications in just minutes, for a variety of devices, even wearables, all with a consistent user experience.

See: Heroku DX: New Dev Tools to Speed Up Cloud App Creation

The new Salesfore1 Lightning App Builder extends the app creation process to business users with a simple "drag and drop" interface, so not just developers and IT professionals are able to build apps. The new process builder does the same, allowing users to build workflows and business processes with just a few clicks and no need to code. Once you put the right components together, the app is instantly ready to use; there's no validation process to go through, as all of the components are tested ahead of time so that they're ready to go as you build your Salesforce app.

Salesforce1 Lightning also includes a new framework that allows developers to build custom components. Lightning Components can be custom-built or pre-built by Salesforce or third-party vendors (partners) and obtained through the Salesforce AppExchange. The platform also sports a new user interface that is able to deliver an optimized user experience across different devices, including desktops, laptops, tablets, phablets, smartphones, and yes, even wearables.

The Salesforce1 platform as a service (PaaS) was launched last year and integrates the company's Heroku, Force.com, and ExactTarget services, however Lightning is a Force.com capability, Scott Holden, VP of platform marketing at Salesforce told Tom's IT Pro during an interview. The next generation of the platform has been two years in the making, Holden said, and it has some deep integration. The company has been using and testing it internally for some time and made the first two Lightning features (Lightning Framework and Lightning Schema Builder) generally available this week to coincide with the Dreamforce 2014 conference, Salesforce's annual event.

Holden walked us through the Lightning App Builder and Process Builder to show just how easy they are to use. Instead of using a clipboard to collect data and later on entering that data into a system, customers can build custom apps in just minutes to do this right from their mobile devices with a simple swipe or tap, Holden explained.

With Lightning, Salesforce is responding to customer demands for a faster, easier app development process and more streamlined iterations between IT, business, and users. "Apps have redefined innovation, all that's needed now is speed," said Holden.

Today, Salesforce has over 1.8 million developers using the Salesforce1 platform, and more than 4 million apps to show for it. Some of the new Lightning features are generally available now (including the Lightning Framework and Lightning Schema Builder), while others are in beta and expecting a full release in February 2015. All Lightning capabilities are made available through an automatic update to the platform with no price changes.

To learn more about Salesforce1 Lightning, visit salesforce.com/lightning.

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