Computer systems have evolved significantly in the few short decades that they have been available. Early computers relied on precise physical connections — specific parts of the device were wired to other parts, allowing them to function in tandem. Early designs gave way to more sophisticated ones, leading to computer systems that relied upon electronic memory. These systems were able to use binary machine language to perform complex computational tasks. The language itself evolved over time as well, replacing the 1s and 0s with code text.

As machine language evolved, it began to offer greater flexibility, and reduced the costs generally associated with application design and development. Additionally, computer interfaces became more visually dependent. Rather than having to type out long lines of difficult code, developers could now take advantage of software with built-in application development tools, clicking and dragging desired components to compile into working applications. The programs were, in essence, designed to create programs and could be used by individuals with little or no IT training.

This shift from an exclusive, technically skilled user base to a more general, business user-focused one resulted in lower costs associated with talent and shorter development time. Likewise, the fact that most of these tools provide the underlying services that they host and upgrade frequently, application updates and maintenance become a nonissue. These advantages led to the modern era of application development, and gave businesses around the globe the power to create custom reliable applications for both customer and internal use.

Of course, in order to do that, these businesses generally rely on application development tools — the aforementioned programs that make programs. Unfortunately, not all tool providers offer the same level of service.

In order to find a provider that fits a business’ unique needs, it’s important to understand the most common features, benefits, and functionalities that help define a superior application development tools provider. After all, with so many apps now available on the market (approximately 5,703,500 across Google Play, Apple App Store, Windows Store, Amazon Store, and BlackBerry World as of June 2016), competition is undeniably fierce.

Here are several factors for businesses to consider when choosing a development tools provider:

  • Extensibility of application development tools
    Businesses expect their development tools to be able to allow them to create unique custom applications. Often, in order for this to be possible, the tools themselves need to be customized. So the application development tools, beyond offering their own frameworks, need to be able to easily leverage open source tools such as AngularJS, Backbone, and Ember to allow for code-level customization and configuration.

  • Programming language compatibility
    Classically, enterprise tools have been tied to programing languages such as Java and .Net. Now there are newer breeds of application development frameworks and languages — such as the MEAN stack — that rely heavily on common languages such as JavaScript, Ruby, Python, and PHP. In order to provide developers with the resources they need to be able to design applications, application development tools themselves need to be compatible with these languages. This allows businesses to create applications for a wide variety of platforms and projects.

  • Mobile-first design
    In 2015, mobile devices overtook desktop as the world’s most preferred method for accessing internet data. With this in mind, it is becoming imperative that application developers design their programs to function first and foremost on mobile devices. Mobile-first design shows that the developer is concerned with user convenience, and allows for a wider audience.

  • Broad support for development approaches
    With modern applications as widespread as they are, applications need to be able to support a variety of application types and developers. Model-driven apps, elastic apps, and streaming apps all depend upon complete sets of advanced cloud services integrated through a secure foundation and open to an ecosystem of ISV and SI partners.

  • Low-code capabilities
    Just as simplified coding allows for a wider spread of application development, low-coding capabilities can promote rapid application delivery. Low coding refers to platforms that require very little hand coding. This means that the time between initial setup and final deployment is greatly reduced. Low coding enables more rapid, collaborative development, and is something that 82% of IT teams are interested in pursuing.

    Low-code platforms allow nontechnical developers to rapidly learn how to build apps with point-and-click, drag-and-drop tools, while retaining the flexibility to make changes directly to the code itself — which is something that many standard visual app development tools do not allow.

Finding the right application development tool provider doesn’t have to be a difficult prospect. The Salesforce Platform is the one-stop solution for building and managing custom applications, and it’s built upon the trusted platform of the world’s number one CRM provider. With Salesforce’s mobile application development tools, businesses can conceptualize, design, develop, and roll out specialized applications quickly and easily. Or they can browse through a comprehensive database of ready-built, customizable applications and components.

The purpose behind the platform is to provide every organization and every type of developer with everything they need in regard to application development tools.

The Salesforce Platform provides both low-code and code-centric tools, so that all users can enjoy the level of control they are most comfortable with. Whether using visually enhanced graphical interfaces such as Salesforce App Builder or Process Builder or performing advanced coding, anyone can take advantage of App Cloud’s web-based application development tools. And because the entire platform is housed completely off-site, these cloud application development tools require no expensive hardware installation and are capable of easily integrating with existing internal systems.

The cloud also makes it possible for applications and application development tools to sync data and services in real time. Applications that share networks and data give businesses a single, accurate view of their customers — one that is shared across the entire organization.

The Salesforce Platform uses Force.com as the foundation for building model-driven apps, and it’s designed to sync seamlessly to the Heroku Platform for using a code-centric approach to building apps. Heroku lets developers build and scale applications easily across all programming languages. Salesforce takes advantage of the integration between the two platforms, allowing users to easily share data between Force.com and Heroku apps. Additionally, database queries and other data-centric actions use the advanced Lightning framework, which is built natively into the Force.com platform. Lightning framework’s HTML-based components are easily extensible and customizable to help businesses create modern custom experiences.

From increasing employee productivity, to creating engaging consumer experiences, to improving the client relationship through better customer data, custom applications built on the Salesforce Platform give businesses the tools they need to get the job done.

The modern world runs on apps. However, the demand for apps is outstripping the industry’s capacity. According to Gartner, during 2017 market demand for mobile app development services is expected to grow at least five times faster than organizational IT’s ability to create them . At the same time, there simply aren’t enough developers to fill that gap — in 2020, approximately half a million developer jobs will go unfilled .

The Salesforce Platform can make up the difference. Through easy-to-use, scalable, mobile application development tools, any business can create the apps that keep it competitive, and its customers happy.  

Yes, application development has come a long way, and with the Salesforce Platform there’s really no end in sight.

 
See how you can turn ideas into apps, fast on the Salesforce Platform.