Developers can build apps for free on the Salesforce platform

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Salesforce is a dominant player in the IT sector. Many companies use Salesforce as a CRM solution, while the Sales, Service, and Marketing solutions are also eagerly used. The Lightning platform is central to these products, enabling extensions and integrations to be built. What many developers don’t realise is that this can be very interesting for their business.

Salesforce is one of the first parties to really be dominant in the enterprise market, and the company is really opening up its platform to third parties. In recent years, the Lightning platform has already added the necessary tooling for workflows and building low-code applications or integrations. For some business users, this is perfectly feasible. They enjoy working with it.

On the other hand, there are a lot of companies that actively use Salesforce, but simply don’t have the knowledge, time or resources to make changes to the platform that could be very interesting for their business. However, Salesforce is trying to lower that threshold, including with the acquisition of Mulesoft and the further developments that Mulesoft is doing. The fact remains, however, that companies themselves also have to put their hands to the wheel to actually realize it. However, the IT department must have the time to do so.

Developers who join the Lightning platform can earn a good living

Today there are also companies that mainly employ developers who have been developing applications and websites for customers for many years, but where sales are starting to decline. The competition for building websites is big, the demand for mobile applications is a lot smaller, and building custom applications seems to decrease in popularity. Companies prefer a generic solution that is adaptable. In the end, you could say that Salesforce falls into the latter category.

These types of development companies that do have the necessary development knowledge, but are looking for a healthier business model should consider the Salesforce Lightning Platform. The platform is well documented, development on the platform is not overly complex, and the possibilities are quite broad.

Whether it’s building an extension or a mobile application on top of Salesforce, it’s fairly simple for the average developer. Salesforce uses the APEX programming language, a derivative of Java. Salesforce offers an AppExchange where built applications can be offered for free or for a fee. Salesforce does marketing and sales for the application through the AppExchange; it is a matter of building a solution that is in demand. If sales are realized through the AppExchange, a percentage of 15 percent of sales goes to Salesforce. On the other hand, you have no sales/marketing costs.

Entering the Lightning Platform is free with the Salesforce Developer Edition

Salesforce has made a free Developer Edition available. This edition is free for developers. It gives you all the features of the platform and applications can be developed and tested quickly. As a developer, you do not have to pay an expensive license, and you are not dependent on a customer account to test the application properly.

Salesforce has placed some limits on the use of this subscription. It is, of course, not the intention that the Salesforce Developer Edition is abused to get free access to the commercial products. That goes without saying.

The business market is reversed

The business market is rapidly reviewing its applications. They are looking at how they can make the organisation innovate faster, with many on-premise applications disappearing and new SaaS solutions being chosen. Software as a Service are applications that work and run in the cloud. The organisation does not have to do any management, they only have to pay every month. The service is available and hosting and maintenance are included.

What companies often need is an integration between such a SaaS solution and their Salesforce environment. Either to streamline the sales process or to make marketing campaigns more effective. With many large applications, these integrations can be easily achieved via AppExchange or Mulesoft.

However, what you often see is that local players are not among them or that if companies really want a specific integration, this is not just possible. During Dreamforce, we talked to various parties who came to see how they can make Salesforce more user-friendly and integrate with their other applications. With the introduction of low-code they hope to be able to do this themselves.

However, learning to work with low code and building with low code takes time anyway. For many web developers, there are also opportunities here. They understand like no other how an application is built and can quickly build this kind of thing using low-code. Here too, there are opportunities for development companies to get involved.

Low-code is an alternative

The lack of developers has given the low code market a big boost. Salesforce is also responding skilfully to this, and many business users are investigating how they can use this effectively within their organisation. This is a solution that is effective and desirable for some companies. We also hear of companies that prefer to outsource so that their business users can focus on their primary tasks. So they prefer to work with a party that makes it for them.

Incidentally, we see many more companies working with low code and no-code. There are also real application development platforms such as Betty Blocks and OutSystems, which allow companies to build applications from the ground up at an accelerated pace. You can see that some companies are transforming their entire development department to such a platform in order to be able to innovate faster. However, the threshold for these kinds of platforms is higher in terms of entry costs. Also, as a company, you still have to do the sales and marketing yourself. Salesforce has put together a nice package to attract developers. Incidentally, we expect the low-code market to become increasingly accessible in the coming years.

The boundary between developer and business low-code user

Something that is still difficult to predict is where exactly the boundary will be between the real developer and the business user (citizen developer) working with low code in a standard solution, in order to build or modify it as desired. DevOps may take on a new meaning.

The trend in the market is clear. We are going to see more and more large standard solutions in companies, which will be more cloud-based, often in a SaaS form. It is also clear that all these applications will have to communicate and collaborate with each other. However, it is not yet clear how it will be tailor-made and who will do it. Many companies will undoubtedly make an attempt with low code or even no-code. The question is whether that will be just as fast and efficient as hiring a developer. People with experience in application development will be able to do this much faster and, if it’s good, also better with these new low-code tools. The question is perhaps simply: what is more affordable?