Salesforce DX: Consumer-Style, Source Driven Development Experience

C. Dunlap
C. Dunlap

Summary Bullets:

• Salesforce DX will support popular standard development tools as part of its platform.

• The new platform experience will attract additional enterprise developers to its cloud services.

For enterprise developers, the most important news from Dreamforce 2016 was Salesforce DX—a new source-driven development experience (DX). The developer preview is based around externalizing source metadata, enabling the support of various open development tools to ease collaboration around metadata.

Most importantly, DX is intended to open up the developer experience so developers can build apps with the tools they’re most familiar with – e.g., Git, Selenium, or Eclipse. Developers can also access an integrated test suite or plug into third-party test and build automation tools, which is important for continuous integration and continuous delivery objectives. DX is not tied to Heroku, but certainly will be optimized for the popular Salesforce platform service, eventually integrating with Heroku Flow to automate deployments off GitHub repositories, as well as with Heroku Pipelines to streamline everything from development and test to production.

Salesforce executives were quick to point out that DX is in the early days of development, expected to roll out beta then GA in 2017, prompting a steady flow of developers to walk up to microphones during developer session Q&As and ask if they could be considered for customer beta programs–so excited were they to hear about integration of standard development tools as part of the Salesforce platform. One developer gushed that the enhancements will save him “40 hours a week’’ by eliminating a pile of manual development tasks.

DX, which has been a major engineering endeavor for Salesforce over the past 18 months, has the necessary buy-in among company officers, according to project heads. That’s because the new integrations will help pull together pivotal technologies — enabling availability, events, big data, and AI, through composability around metadata and abstraction.

More than ever, Salesforce is approaching app development from a continuous delivery perspective, where it’s not just about creating great apps, but how enterprises can efficiently move those apps into production as well as roll them back and change them when necessary. Companies like Facebook and Netflix have pushed the limit in the consumer space through new app development tools and microservices architectures. Now enterprises want to exploit those methods too, because users now expect the same immediate user experience to infiltrate every aspect of their lives.

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