Getting Started With the Platform

-Based on Salesforce Trailheads-

Salesforce is more than just a CRM. It is also the platform itself, which can be used to build apps.

Salesforce standard functionality includes:

  • Leads and Opportunities object: used to manage the sales process
  • Cases and Communities to engage successfully with customers
  • Salesforce1 mobile app to use when away from a computer
  • Chatter and Communities for collaboration between employees, customers and partners

The platform is used for extending beyond this standard functionality. Here clicks and code are used to create some amazing and useful stuff. Such as:

  • Custom objects
  • Custom fields
  • Processes
  • Lightning components
  • Heroku

Salesforce has some of its own words to make communicating easier. Here are some basic definitions:

  • Record. An item in your database, corresponds to a row in a spreadsheet.
  • Field. Stores a value, corresponds to a column on a spreadsheet.
  • Object. A table in the data base, corresponds to a tab on a spreadsheet. Typically contains fields and records.
  • Org. Also known as a Salesforce instance. This is where you log on to to access data or customise the system.
  • The suite of configuration tools, programming languages and APIs native to Salesforce, including Apex and Visualforce.
  • App. A set of fields, objects, permissions and functionality to support a business process.

Whenever you are customising anything in Salesforce you are “using the platform”.

A common distinction in Salesforce is Clicks vs Code. This means the same as declarative vs programmatic customisation. Declarative means you click buttons and fill out fields etc. With programmatic you have to work with code. There are various tools in each of these categories.

declarative vs programmatic customisation.jpeg

Remember that administrators should understand the domain of developing and developers should know the fundamentals of administration. Thus, Salesforce professionals need to know “a bit of everything”.

The golden rule is to use clicks before resorting to code. This is because it’s generally more efficient, robust and maintainable. Code is more difficult to learn but it gives you a more granular control of customisation for when clicks aren’t enough.

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