Defining “enterprise cloud platform” begins with understanding cloud computing. At the most basic level, cloud computing solutions deliver data and application functionality through the Web, rather than having them reside on a user’s desktop/laptop/mobile device, hardware drive, or in what is otherwise known as on-premises solutions.
As a result, IT departments no longer need to worry about buying and provisioning servers to hold company data and can instead focus on creating applications that help the business run faster. And they don’t have to worry about installing applications on every device for every user in a business. Instead, users with Web access simply log on to an app to access, share, and collaborate on relevant data and business processes immediately.
Enterprise cloud platforms are specifically designed to help drive every department of a business with apps. The apps you build can scale for growth, allow for customization (by developers, IT departments, business users, or all three), and are highly secure.
Salesforce has been a leader in enterprise cloud computing since 1999, virtually creating the category. Today, Salesforce has more than 100,000 customers and continues to be a recognized leader in cloud computing for businesses of all sizes and in nearly every industry under the sun.
The Salesforce1 Platform is a 100% cloud Platform as a Service, or PaaS. It delivers everything required to build and securely manage apps from anywhere, starting with the foundational elements a business needs to build any cloud solution on: infrastructure, architecture, database, servers, networks, security, and more. For developers, IT departments, and even business users, it provides the tools for rapid application development, as well as the services and APIs needed to integrate and connect data from other sources, like Oracle, SAP, MSFT, and even products. Sales Cloud, the world’s #1 CRM, is built on the Salesforce1 Platform.
The Salesforce1 Platform does this all by bringing together a family of cloud services and other services that all work together: Force.com, Visualforce, Heroku, Heroku Connect, and Lightning, all explained below.
There are four basic ways a business can make apps for a company: 1) On-premises solutions, 2) Infrastructure as a Service solutions, 3) Platform as a Service solutions, and 4) Software as a Service solutions.
On-premises solutions require the IT department to build the entire solution on their own, from the servers to the code database. While it means granular control of hardware, software, infrastructure and networking, it’s expensive, time consuming, and resource-intensive. Upgrades are hard to manage and it’s not always easy to move the technology forward in pace with changing business needs.
Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) provides raw data center capacity so that IT can take advantage of virtual machines, managed storage and networks, shared physical and network security, as well as utility pricing that changes proportionally as you scale. However, IaaS still requires heavy IT involvement for integrating data, building and maintaining apps and users.
Platform as a Service (PaaS) offers everything Infrastructure as a Service delivers, as well the operating systems, middleware, and runtime tools that allow IT and others in the business to build apps and deploy apps quickly, and integrate data from other sources like SAP and Oracle, and the tools and services to manage it all.
Software as a Service (SaaS) delivers packaged apps that are ready to go for users with a Web browser and Internet access. The apps, built on a cloud database from an underlying platform, typically deliver software on a monthly subscription. Salesforce has been a leader in SaaS since 1999.
Salesforce was the first company to deliver Platform as a Service to companies around the world, and it delivers it as few others do or can.
For customers using Salesforce apps like Sales Cloud, the Salesforce1 Platform makes it possible to bring deeply customized functions to the app for any device and any employee. It also offers employees Chatter, a social collaboration platform designed for business that lets them securely share files and collaborate on work, find experts quickly, create working groups with vendors and customers outside the company, and more.
Companies can also use the Platform to quickly build apps that connect employees within the organization, automate business processes across the company or within a department, and integrate data from third parties into apps built on the platform. Because any apps made on the Salesforce1 Platform are 100% cloud, built API-first, and leverage a unified data model, they can be made mobile instantly. There are no servers to find and provision, security is built-in, setup for analytics and reporting is already taken care of, and the Salesforce1 Platform’s shared data model ensures that data is not siloed, meaning it’s available everywhere, on any device.
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Force.com is primarily designed for the development and deployment of cloud-based employee-facing apps using Apex as its programming language. It allows developers to create apps and Websites through the cloud IDE (integrated development environment) and deploy them quickly to Force.com’s multitenant servers. Apex can be used to execute programmed functions during most processes on the Force.com platform, including custom buttons and links, event handlers on record creation, updates or deletions and via the custom controllers of Visualforce.
Force.com also offers point-and-click tools that help business users create apps quickly that help get business done faster, without creating headaches for IT departments. And, even better, the IT department and developer can go back to the apps created by business users and iterate on them to make them better.
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Heroku is similar to Force.com in that its primary purpose is to give developers the tools they need to build apps. The key difference is that Heroku is designed for the development and deployment of cloud-based external-facing, scalable apps for customers rather than employee-facing, internal apps.
Heroku also allows developers to build in any programming language rather than just Apex, including Ruby on Rails, Node.js, Python, Java, and more. Heroku apps can run on any device and can link to social accounts so that customers can like, share, and take other public actions straight from the app.
Using Heroku and Force.com together helps companies create stronger, more lasting relationships with their customers. Companies can sync user data from Heroku with relevant internal employee apps and get an easy-to-digest view of the information in dashboards, allowing them to quickly see customer insights and take action on them.
Heroku is best for companies that want to build external customer apps that use programming languages other than Apex to create scalable, global, external-facing applications.
Force.com is optimal for the development of internal, employee-facing apps and is also ideal for the business user who wants to create internal apps and doesn’t have a technical background in development; tools are point-and-click and easy to use.
The Salesforce1 Platform is built on a multitenant infrastructure, which means that your apps are run on a shared data center, lowering costs and reducing the need to devote resources (time, money, and people) to maintenance. The robust and flexible security architecture of the Platform is trusted by companies around the world, including those in the most heavily regulated industries—from financial services to healthcare to government—and it provides the highest level of security and control over everything from user and client authentication through administrative permissions to the data access and sharing model, including:
Salesforce protects your organization's data from all other customer organizations by using a unique identifier that restricts access at every level to your data from anyone outside of your company—including us. User Security: User authentication (both delegated and SAML) combined with network-level security by IP address, session restrictions, and audit trails provide control and visibility into what users are doing in the system and their field history.
Configurable, authenticated sessions secure access to logic, data, and metadata. Salesforce even offers a source code scanner that produces a report analyzing the security of your code.
Trust and Visibility:
Trust starts with transparency. Salesforce displays real time information on system performance and security, and offers tips on best security practices for your organization. Learn more at: trust.salesforce.com
Visualforce is the component-based user interface framework for the Force.com platform. The framework includes a tag-based markup language, similar to HTML. Each Visualforce tag corresponds to a coarse or fine-grained user interface component, such as a section of a page, or a field. Visualforce boasts about 100 built-in components, and a mechanism whereby developers can create their own components.
Visualforce uses the traditional model-view-controller (MVC) paradigm, with the option to use auto-generated controllers for database objects, providing simple and tight integration with the database. You can write your own controllers, or extensions to controllers, using Apex Code. Visualforce also provides AJAX components, and embeds the formula expression language for action, data and component binding interaction.
The Salesforce1 Mobile App
is more than just a mobile version of Salesforce. Built API-first, it’s a mobile container for any business app you build on the Salesforce1 Platform, including mobile-ready apps built on the Salesforce1 Platform from the AppExchange.
Because Force.com is built 100% in the cloud with a unified data model and is API-first, any app built on it can be deployed instantly to the Salesforce1 Mobile App, which is also built on Force.com. In fact, to make an app mobile-enabled only requires making sure that Salesforce1 is enabled and saved in the Mobile Administration setup. Additionally, admins can control who has access to the app within an organization.
On the Salesforce1 Platform, custom objects are the building blocks that make an app. Every user of an app needs access to the objects that are in that app, so every person accessing apps requires a subscription.
Powerful apps with access to 10 custom objects per user
A customizable employee app
Mobile Services & SDK
Workflow and approvals
Sharing and user access
Point and click development
Reporting and dashboards
Salesforce1 Lightning is the latest version of Force.com tools that give developers access to the same framework that delivers the Salesforce1 Mobile App, helping them to create their own app components quickly and easily.
In addition to components, Salesforce1 Lightning also offers tools that help developers, IT, and business users do more, quickly. These tools include:
See how to build apps faster than ever
- Lightning App Builder and Process Builder to create custom apps with complex business logic and beautiful user interfaces that work on any device.
- Lightning Connect to seamlessly and quickly integrate third-party data from sources like SAP, Oracle, MSFT, and others.
Every major consumer Website uses components. When you open a normal Web page, you see the page as a complete experience. In reality, however, it is actually a set of components stitched together behind the scenes. For example, on a Yahoo page, the center news feed is one component surrounded by other components like the ad units, sidebars, and so forth, as a framework.
Salesforce1 Lightning brings these same component framework concepts to the enterprise, offering a set of pre-made components to start. This means developers and IT now have a framework that components can easily be made on, and in turn, used to assemble apps.
Salesforce also offers developers and partners the capability to create their own components, which means businesses can compose apps with pre-made components from Salesforce, make their own custom components, or use components made by AppExchange partners. Salesforce1 Lightning tools also allow these pre-made components to be assembled and reassembled specifically for any screen with drag-and-drop ease.
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No. The Salesforce1 Platform provides easy-to-use, point-and-click tools that give business users with little to no technical background the capability to quickly develop custom applications. To see how easy it is to quickly create custom applications on the Salesforce1 Platform, visit our free Trailhead Tutorial
You don’t need to be a developer or know code to create new business applications; it’s as simple as pointing and clicking, then dragging and dropping components. You can try point-and-click development now by visiting our free Trailhead Tutorial
The AppExchange is an online marketplace for third-party applications that run on the Salesforce1 Platform, and specifically made with Force.com. Applications are available for free, as well as on yearly or monthly subscription models.
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No. There’s no infrastructure or software to buy, set up, or manage. Any company of any size with virtually any budget can choose the package with the tools they need to start building custom cloud applications that immediately help accelerate every area of the business.