Salesforce1 and Mobile Apps

Salesforce.com made several announcements at last year’s Dreamforce, including Salesforce1 (the latest version of the Salesforce platform) and its several new APIs and services. Salesforce1 is built on top of Force.com and provides a mobile first development environment. It is designed to make building connected apps and connecting with your employees, partners and customers easier than ever. Aura, an open source UI library that was used to build Salesforce1, also made its debut. Now a number of mobile apps, built with Aura, were released along with Salesforce1 and internally we have educated ourselves on both the platform and the apps. Here is what we learned so far.

Salesforce1 is not just a platform. It is also a mobile app that replaces Chatter mobile and Salesforce Touch. The Salesforce1 app gives users access to their Salesforce orgs, AppExchange apps and Chatter capabilities on their mobile devices. Think of some useful functionality that you would want on mobile, such as a field service app or a customer experience app, you now have many more options at your disposal. Some features we would like to see down the road are push alerts beyond @mentions, custom branding and iPad optimized layouts. In the meantime, we are already working with our customers on Salesforce1 optimized mobile apps and seeing great results.

To use the Salesforce1 app, you enable it for your Salesforce org and then give the desired users the Salesforce1 permission. They can then download the Salesforce1 app from their mobile device store. If they have the required OS (4.2+ for Android and 6.0+ for iOS) they will see the full Salesforce1 app, if not they will just see Salesforce Chatter.

Salesforce1 screenshot

The second app is SalesforceA, which is designed to be used for administrative activities on the go. Administrators can now complete some of the easier less complex tasks, such as resetting user passwords and deactivating accounts, from the palm of their hand. They will also have access to the community and the most recent release notes all from mobile.

SalesforceA screenshot

The third and final app is Salesforce#. It is also an administrative tool and simply put is used for two-factor authentication. When users try to login to Salesforce.com they will be presented with a QR code screen where they will be prompted to download the app on their device and scan the code to get a number to enter along with their password. It is a second layer of security that you can enable when giving users access to Salesforce from their mobile devices. If you have strict security requirements, but still want to leverage mobile capabilities, Salesforce# could be very useful.

All of these mobile apps, like Salesforce1, are built with Aura, the new open source user interface (UI) framework from Salesforce.com. Aura was originally built for Salesforce Touch and has been used internally at Salesforce.com for some time now. It was used to construct significant portions of the current Salesforce desktop user interface, such as Chatter, Opportunity Splits and the Force.com app builder. Arguably, one of the most exciting things about Aura is that it is not native to Salesforce and not just for use with Force.com. It is a truly generic framework that any developer can use to build any UI application. We are very curious to see how this framework evolves as a broader range of developers are likely to contribute. If you would like to contribute, Aura lives on Github.

Salesforce1 is a next generation development platform and a mobile application built on Aura. Salesforce1 allows you to write once and deploy anywhere and thanks to the mobile app users can now practically do anything they can do in Salesforce on their handheld devices. SalesforceA and Salesforce# are administrative tools that can support these mobile deployment models. For more information, see the following references:

SalesforceA
Introducing Salesforce1
Connected Apps Overview
Customize the Salesforce1 Navigation Menu
Creating Records or Actions with Salesforce1
Salesforce1 Overview of Device Installation
Introducing Aura Video
A Guide to Aura Development

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About Paul Mendez

Paul is a leader with 9+ years of global professional services experience. He has demonstrated proven success in business development, application design and project management. His engagements have included multi-million dollar initiatives for organizations across financial services, technology and media, in the private and public sectors and Fortune 500 companies. His current focus is Salesforce solutions.