The Salesforce1 Platform is the world’s #1 enterprise cloud platform. With Force.com for building employee applications, and Heroku for creating amazing customer apps, the technology empowers developers to deliver solutions faster than ever before.
Jon Sigler is an expert in declarative development for all environments. After 13 years at Microsoft, and another eight years at Apple, he now runs visual design tools at Salesforce as SVP of Platform Product Management. Sigler sat down with us to give his take on what differentiates the Salesforce1 Platform and where the technology is headed.
Tell us about the new Salesforce1 Platform features.
In addition to recently redefining our visual tools -- Lightning Process Builder, Schema Builder, and App Builder -- we are entering the component model world. After all, component frameworks are the future of app development. This sustainable and efficient method is being used across the industry, with Salesforce the only company offering it in a scalable and secure fashion for the enterprise. Using our new Lightning App Builder, anyone can create pages with Lightning Components, which are built both by Salesforce and are open for custom development.
We also just launched a new Component Exchange, so third parties can create and deploy components to customers. The really great thing about the components themselves is that once they exist, we provide tools that let all users drag and drop them on a page, wherever they’d like. The model is out of the box and will work for any form factor.
What makes the Platform the undisputed leader in the cloud platform space?
In all of my years working with the enterprise, one of the things that people just despise is rolling out new software, because of upgrades and compatibility. So you roll out Access or Office or any new application, and every customer has to come back and see if everything still works. There’s just a ton of issues. People hate it and they don’t want to do it. The main thing the Platform brings to the enterprise is never having to worry about that. Salesforce runs a single code base so every customer is on the same version at the same time. And there are no concerns about compatibility or things breaking.
How does "cloud first" play into this?
Having the multitenancy, scalability, and security already existing, and not having to build tools for that, is awesome. Nobody else has done that and it will take anybody else a long time to build that. When you look at other desktop software companies, it’s hard for them to compete because their software was never engineered as a service. Salesforce is the exact opposite. It was always engineered to run as a cloud service that could be evolved into a platform other things could be built on. Today, not years in the future, we have a platform that’s not just for our apps, it’s for our apps that can be customized by anyone, as well as building completely customized apps.
Why is productivity so significant for enterprise developers?
There’s just too few developers to create the software solutions corporations worldwide now need. Too often someone in the enterprise wants a custom report, or page, or UI, and they call down to IT, and wait. They might wait a week, a month, six months, or be told “no.” Enabling developers to be more productive means they can build more solutions faster. And not only that, if you give developers a way to create functionality that can also be used by non-developers, it takes a lot of the work out of the hands of the developer.
We think it’s extremely important to make developers more productive with our toolset and component model, and while doing that, empower others -- knowledge workers, admins -- to create the solutions they want based off those components. That’s also the big advantage of Heroku. It frees developers from servers, scaling, and deployment, so they can focus entirely on writing code for amazing consumer-facing apps.
What else makes the Salesforce1 Platform unique when it comes to rapid app dev?
A big thing is that the model inherently includes mobile. You can download the app, log into your org, and run your business. This new model is even more unique in that you don’t have to worry about managing pages and UIs for different devices, such as a tablet, a smartphone, or desktop computer, because you can simply create one page and it will display itself appropriately, on the appropriate device. The fact that this whole model is built-in is something that nobody else does.
Where is the Salesforce1 Platform headed?
We are expecting an explosion of custom applications. Say a company wants to build an internal meeting room registration system. Instead of peeling off and using another tool, they’ll say, “Oh, I’ve already got the Salesforce1 Platform, I can very easily set this up, create the components, drag and drop, and I’m done.” I think in five years we will see we’ve become much more of a Platform company, meaning that we will have a lot more custom apps built, by enterprises, by mid-markets, by customers in general. We have a huge head start in scalability and security in the cloud, and adding the Lightning Component Model and visual tools just means more and more people will be building custom apps.
Salesforce was recently named a leader in Forrester's Enterprise Public Cloud Platform Wave Report. Click the button to download.