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Business users look to Salesforce App Cloud for app development

Organizations looking for a low-code app development platform should consider the Salesforce PaaS App Cloud, which helps business users create apps on their own.

The Salesforce platform as a service (PaaS), App Cloud, is composed of several integrated services in order to offer a platform for app development that can be fashioned based on various projects' needs. With preloaded APIs to facilitate integration with other programs and services, and support for multiple programming languages, Salesforce App Cloud aims to centralize the development process and accommodate projects of any scale.

Salesforce App Cloud consists of two primary offerings, Force.com and Heroku Enterprise, respectively tailored for the creation and deployment of internal employee apps and external customer apps. To develop internal apps, Force.com uses the programming language Apex. The development stage occurs within a cloud-based integrated development environment and redirects to Force.com's multi-tenant servers during the deployment stage. Unique to Force.com is its no-code, point-and-click tool system which replaces manual coding and allows business users to create apps without coding. Alongside Force.com, users can opt to use Visualforce, a component-based, interface framework that includes tag-based markup language that can also accommodate user-generated components.

Heroku Enterprise, on the other hand, is tailored for the creation and maintenance of large, customer-centered apps, and it supports any programming language. Heroku Enterprise runs on any device and can link to users' social media accounts. Depending on a project's needs, users can opt to use both Force.com and Heroku simultaneously.

Another signature feature of Salesforce App Cloud is Lightning, a framework for enhancing app development with user-generated components, and AppExchange, an online marketplace for third-party apps running on App Cloud. AppExchange is included with Lightning but is not contingent upon it.

Any Salesforce App Cloud product configuration includes pre-established security features: two-step authentication, login history and IP restrictions, to name a few. There is an optional Salesforce Shield that provides three further security augmentations: event monitoring, audit trails that delineate data lifecycle policies and advanced encryption.

How much does Salesforce App Cloud cost?

App Cloud can be purchased as one of four bundles. The Employee Apps package is $25 per user, per month and offers custom app development for up to 10 objects per user. The Employee Apps Plus package is $75 per user, per month and extends access to 100 objects per user. Each of these packages includes access to Force.com and billing occurs annually. The Heroku Enterprise Starter option is $4,000 per month, billed annually, and includes all Apps Plus features as well as access to Heroku. The App Cloud Unlimited option grants access to Force.com, Heroku, Lightning and a more extensive range of customization tools and data storage features. Salesforce requests that prospective Unlimited customers contact them directly for a quote.

In addition to product-specific support packages, Salesforce offers a general support system, Premier Success Plans, available in three tiers. The Standard option includes access to self-training resources and online case submissions with a response time of two business days. The Premier option includes 24/7 phone and online support, one-hour initial response time for critical issues and more advanced training resources. The Premier+ option extends Premier's services with configuration services. The Signature plan includes dedicated support teams and technical specialists. Adding on to the features of the Premier+ plan, it also has a 15-minute critical issue response time, localized support and configuration services, proactive monitoring and independent software vendor partner case coordination.

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This was last published in February 2017

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