Salesforce has always been known for its extensive API’s empowering developers to build the next great app or tool, be that on a mobile device or a wearable. Through its true-to-the-core commitment to exposing each feature it builds in parallel with an API, the result is a very API-rich platform indeed!
As much as i love APIs, for me what makes Salesforce the most powerful and productive cloud platform on the planet, is its ability to empower those who are not developers to create and customise solutions that may otherwise require coding – this applies to FinancialForce.com products as well!
You’ve probably seen tweets or heard the phrase #clicksnotcode. Every Salesforce admin, solution architect (or developer for that matter), owes it to themselves to be paying attention to features or social media carrying this tag. As it essentially means things like “we can do this today, not next week or next month when dev resources are available”, “lets try it out now in this meeting, not action it!”, “lets collaborate together to create this!”
Products embracing the native aspects of the platform continue to leverage Salesforce’s commitment to clicks not code or also know as declarative features. Over the last several releases we’ve seen a significant investment from Salesforce in its Visual Flow tool. Finally allowing so-called ‘Flows‘ (created by placing steps on a drag and drop style canvas) to access and manipulate records. Just over night this allowed Flows to be used to create wizards and even buttons on layouts to manipulate our products’ native objects, without requiring any code! Check out this article on our developer site and my blogs on Flow for more information.
What’s about to happen next is very, very exciting! Enter Lightning Process Builder, it will finally GA in Spring’15, providing even greater control than what Workflow and Flow combined provide already. It provides a single visual place to model processes rather than setting up via disparate parts of the setup menu, allowing greater collaboration. And like Flow, it permits you to implement aspects of a process only previously possible with Apex code.
So now we can point and click our way to doing much more than before, you may be asking, “what’s left?” Well, as you can see from our product APIs, there still exists a need to expose aspects of product functionality that is more task or process orientated as opposed to just creating, updating or deleting records. For example, posting an invoice, performing cost allocation or cash matching operations.
As if the new Lightning Process Builder was not in itself exciting enough! Salesforce’s clever platform designers have come up with a way to bridge the API and #clicksnotcode worlds through what they are calling Invocable Actions. Invocable Actions can be created by either admins or developers, but when an application developer creates an Invocable Action around application tasks such as those i mentioned above. The magic bit is Salesforce automatically makes them available in the palettes of drag and drop tools like Flow Designer and Process Builder. Allowing admins and solution architects to consume such API’s without code, effectively mapping API parameters and output via point and click, very exciting!
Salesforce is taking #clicksnotcode to a whole new level with its new upcoming Spring’15 Lightning Process Builder and Invocable Actions features. Watch this space for some upcoming examples using Process Builder with our applications!