Preface - Development with the Platform: Building Business Applications in the Cloud, Third Edition (2014)

Development with the Platform: Building Business Applications in the Cloud, Third Edition (2014)


I wrote this book to help developers discover as a viable, even superior tool for building business applications.

I’m always surprised at how many developers I meet who aren’t aware of as a platform. They know of Salesforce, but only that it’s a CRM. Even those who have heard of are amazed when I describe what Appirio and other companies are building with it. “I didn’t know you could do that with” is a common reaction, even to the simplest of things such as creating custom database tables.

Since the second edition of this book, Salesforce has delivered more than six major releases. This third edition refocuses the book on custom application development and away from “clicks not code”-style, configuration-driven features. It contains updates throughout to cover new capabilities such as Developer Console, JSON support, Streaming and Tooling APIs, REST integration, and support for MVC frameworks like AngularJS in Visualforce. It also features a new chapter: Chapter 8, “Mobile User Interfaces.”

Although there are more cloud-based application development platforms than ever before, continues to offer unique and outstanding value for business applications. With its core strength in customer data management, deep set of thoughtfully integrated features, and support for open standards, can save you significant time and effort throughout the software development lifecycle.

Key Features of This Book

This book covers areas of relevant to developing applications in a corporate environment. It takes a hands-on approach, providing code examples and encouraging experimentation. It includes sections on the database, Apex programming language, Visualforce user interface technology, integration to other systems, and supporting features such as workflow and analytics. SFA, CRM, customer support, and other prebuilt applications from Salesforce are not discussed, but general platform skills are helpful for working in these areas as well. The book does not cover cloud computing in general terms. It also avoids comparing with other technologies, platforms, or languages. Emphasis is placed on understanding on its own unique terms rather than as a database, application server, or cloud computing platform.

Although is a commercial service sold by Salesforce, all the material in this book was developed using a free Developer Edition account. Additionally, every feature described in this book is available in the free edition.

Throughout the text, you will see sidebar boxes labeled Note, Tip, or Caution. Notes explain interesting or important points that can help you understand key concepts and techniques. Tips are little pieces of information that will help you in real-world situations, and often offer shortcuts to make a task easier or faster. Cautions provide information about detrimental performance issues or dangerous errors. Pay careful attention to Cautions.

Target Audience for This Book

This book is intended for application developers who use Java, Ruby, or other high-level languages to build Web and rich client applications for end users. It assumes knowledge of relational database design and queries, Web application development using HTML and JavaScript, and exposure to Web services.

Code Examples for This Book

The code listings in this book are available on Github: They are also available as a IDE project, also freely available on Github: