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Salesforce Mobile Dev Tooling, Component Store Now Available

Salesforce.com Inc. today announced tools designed to help anyone -- not just developers -- create mobile apps for its CRM-based platform by using pre-built components assembled with a visual, drag-and-drop approach, along with a new exchange where enterprises can shop for such apps.

The company said the rapid application development tooling will help enterprises overcome the "app gap" caused by a lack of skilled mobile developers, the most commonly cited challenge keeping organizations from meeting the tremendous demand for enterprise-oriented apps.

Designed for use with the Salesforce1 Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) for cloud-based app development and management, Salesforce1 Lightning Components and App Builder are generally available as of today, the company said.

The reusable components are written in JavaScript and range from simple UI elements such as toggle buttons to microservices, the burgeoning development approach that builds data and logic into discrete units of code.

"Developers can share components so that anyone can easily build sophisticated user experiences that are dynamic, mobile and work for any screen," Salesforce said. "Businesses can save time and development resources, as well as reduce redundancy, by reusing components across different apps."

To help build apps with such components, the company is offering Lightning App Builder, now available with Salesforce software. "Businesses no longer have to build apps from scratch," the company said in a statement today. "Using Lightning App Builder, anyone, not just developers, can draw from an extensive library of reusable, well-defined components to compose apps in a drag-and-drop visual interface."

That extensive library of components now has its own section -- AppExchange for Components -- on the company's AppExchange, featuring offerings for data management, data visualization, productivity, sales and more.

"AppExchange for Components makes it easy for developers, partners and customers to find and use components in order to accelerate the building of apps," the company said. "Components are put through the same rigorous reviews as apps listed on the AppExchange, ensuring they can be trusted. And for developers who create components, they can list them on the AppExchange either for free or monetize them."

Lightning Components and App Builder were announced last fall. "The announcement is interesting on multiple levels," IDC analyst Al Hilwa told ADTmag in an e-mail at the time. "It certainly takes the Salesforce app platform to a new level, upping the level of abstraction for Salesforce developers looking to build mobile apps. Model-driven application development tools, which leverage visual and abstracted development paradigms, are being invigorated with advances in mobile devices and graphics and are seeing a lot of interest from organizations looking to build mobile apps faster -- especially driven by business groups. We have seen other firms introduce mobile model-driven tools recently, like Kony, and we are seeing good traction by players like Mendix and Outsystems. So it's natural that Salesforce is adding this approach to its platform."

About the Author

David Ramel is the editor of Visual Studio Magazine.

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