At its online TrailheaDX 2021 conference, Salesforce today unveiled a DevOps Center pilot that provides a portal through which organizations can track and manage changes to Salesforce applications along with a unified command line interface (CLI) for all its applications.
In addition, Salesforce plans to add Salesforce Functions to enable developers to deploy code in a serverless environment.
The company has also promised to extend its low-code App Builder tool to include support for Dynamic Interactions, a capability that enables both professional and citizen developers to add reusable components to any application. The company has also added a Customer Identity Plus tool that enables developers to consolidate and manage customer identities.
Finally, Salesforce is adding an Einstein Automate tool that employs machine learning algorithms to both integrate data and automate workflows that can invoke, for example, an existing MuleSoft Composer tool for integrating applications using a Flow Orchestrator that will be made available as a pilot project this summer. MuleSoft is a subsidiary of Salesforce. There is also now an Einstein Data Detect tool that ensures organizations adhere to data privacy laws by employing machine learning algorithms to discover when developers might have inadvertently exposed sensitive data.
Dynamic Interactions, Salesforce Functions and CLI unification are expected to be generally available in the winter of next year, while the Einstein capabilities are expected to arrive this summer.
Ryan Ellis, senior vice president of product management for platform at Salesforce, said the company is making a concerted effort to make it easier for both professional and citizen developers to build applications within the same environment by fostering collaboration via a DevOps Center portal that is expected to be generally available in the spring of 2022. Today the skills that any citizen developer can bring to bear are generally limited, largely because they don’t typically know how to build a well-designed, secure application that will truly scale in an enterprise IT environment.
However, as more artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities are added to low-code tools the amount of developer guidance being provided will increase over time. That additional guidance will enable citizen developers to build robust applications more reliably, noted Ellis.
In the meantime, the primary beneficiaries of low-code tools continue to be professional developers that employ them to build applications faster than they could otherwise using procedural code.
In general, Ellis said the relative DevOps maturity of organizations building and deploying custom applications on top of the software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform managed by Salesforce continues to increase steadily. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, many organizations opted to extend existing SaaS applications provided by Salesforce to accelerate digital business transformation initiative using low-code tools rather than developing every application from scratch using procedural code.
Of course, as the rate at which those applications are being built continues to accelerate, the next big challenge is managing the application life cycles after they are deployed.
It’s not clear what the ultimate mix of applications built using low-code tools versus procedural code will be. Millions of lines of code are now being regularly deployed on Salesforce platforms, noted Ellis. It may be a little while before Salesforce is able to bring DevOps best practices to all that code, but, starting today, the journey has begun.