Salesforce has become a major player in the customer relationship management (CRM) market, being repeatedly named the top provider in the world by International Data Corporation (IDC). Because of this, Salesforce developers are in high demand.
However, Salesforce developers, especially new ones, might not know the best tools and extensions to use. These tools and extensions are essential in creating custom software or application solutions for their organizations, both adding functionality and improving the developers’ workflow.
As a new Salesforce developer, you might feel overwhelmed by the idea of building these products from the ground up. While Salesforce’s documentation and integrated tooling are excellent, there are some great community-driven projects designed to make your work even more seamless. In this roundup, you’ll learn about some essential tools Salesforce developers need to optimize their workflows and maximize efficiency.
Why are these tools important?
Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, the mass digitization of businesses worldwide has been moving at break neck speed and is only expected to increase. This means Salesforce developers need tools to help streamline these processes. These tools provide multiple benefits:
- They help newer developers build their skills
- They improve workflow and productivity
- They save time and labor for companies
The tools in this roundup were chosen for their simplicity, easy integration, and improved functionality. Adding them to your Salesforce platform can help you create innovative business solutions.
Six essential tools for Salesforce developers
While there are hundreds of tools available to Salesforce developers, these are especially recommended for newbies.
1. Dropbox Sign
Salesforce’s goal is to manage and improve customers’ experiences. This includes ensuring that all digital documentation and eSignature processes are easy and secure through Dropbox Sign.
The cloud-based electronic signature tool offers Dropbox Sign for Salesforce, which allows developers to add eSignature flows into their Salesforce application. What sets this tool apart from other eSignature systems is how it directly embeds the signing functionality into the customer interaction. Users don’t need to switch to a different site to complete their documentation.
By integrating this tool in Salesforce, you also gain these features:
- You can use the Notes and Attachments section to both organize and monitor the status of in-flight signature requests.
- You can add your company logo to signature requests and email notifications to keep your brand consistent.
- You can pre-fill documents with Salesforce data and reuse documents as needed.
For more information on the Dropbox Sign API, check out the documentation. Note that Dropbox SIgn offers a custom Apex SDK if its out-of-the-box solution doesn’t meet your use case.
Weave is particularly useful for new Salesforce developers who might not be able to write code from memory and who might feel intimidated by the complexity of Visualforce code. Weave offers boilerplate code for creating Visualforce pages and Apex code patterns.
Salesforce describes Apex as “a strongly typed, object-oriented programming language that allows developers to execute flow and transaction control statements on the Salesforce Platform server.” To speed up your workflow, Weave offers a list of commands to generate these codes. All you need to do is type in the keywords.
Harshit Pandey, one of the developers of the project, explains that Weave ensures code consistency among your team and enables you to use templates.
CassaCloud is designed to solve all platform-related problems for Salesforce. The Europe-based company saw a dearth of high-quality, reasonably priced service providers in the Salesforce ecosystem and decided to come to the rescue with flexible technical services for all users of the platform.
Of particular use to Salesforce developers is CassaCloud’s debug feature, which provides access logs from the developer console so you can analyze your code and quickly spot any problems. If you need to extract a value from a map of maps or a combination of lists, this tool helps you to find it easily in a well-separated, easy-to-read format. This is different from the Salesforce debug log, which puts the values in a long, unreadable string.
Adminite, an SOQL query editor, is one of Salesforce’s newest developer utilities. Salesforce uses the Salesforce Object Query Language (SOQL) to interact with the data in its database. Operating in this language is necessary to understand and process data stored in your organization’s Salesforce database, but it can be intimidating for beginners.
For a Salesforce developer or administrator, this tool serves as a SOQL and Salesforce Object Search Language (SOSL)query editor with context-aware autocompletions and inline data editing. Its Field Level Security function controls which fields your users can view or edit.
Adminite is currently in its first phase of software testing, and more features are planned for the future. But this tool will already come in handy for newer Salesforce developers who are unfamiliar with Salesforce queries, as well as older developers who want to save time.
5. GitIgnore for Salesforce
GitIgnore for Salesforce may not be considered a tool by certain standards, but it does perform an important function during software development. It is a reusable file in which you list the temporary files and patterns you don’t want committed in your work directory. Although the developer decides which files need to be ignored, some common options include log files; private files that contain API keys/secrets, passwords, credentials, or other sensitive information; and unusable system files.
As you find more files and patterns you want to ignore, you edit and commit them to the `gitignore` file manually. It is a simple yet valuable tool that will save you headaches when editing or debugging your code. If you aren’t experienced in Git, you can refer to this repository for details on the file’s synopsis, pattern formatting, and configuration, as well as examples.
Salesforce has a number of open source project repositories, including ForceServer. If you’re building an application that requires varying authentication mechanisms, this tool will make sure your work is simpler and more easily integrated.
ForceServer is, according to Harshit Pandey’s curated list of awesome lists, “a simple development server aimed at providing a simple and integrated developer experience when building applications that use Salesforce OAuth and REST services.”
Its ability to act as a shield against possible technical issues (like CORS and the OAuth callback URL) helps to optimize your developer experience (DX).
This tool’s functionality is twofold:
- It has a proxy server designed to address any policy concerns from initiating REST services across different domains. (While the Chatter API supports CORS, other APIs do not yet.)
- A local web server performs two functions: (1) it serves the OAuth callback URL specified in the connected app, and (2) it serves the whole app during development while avoiding policy issues that may arise when loading files from the local file system.
For more details on how to install and run this server, check out the instructions.
These tools are a sampling of what’s available to help new and experienced Salesforce developers optimize their workflow. From eSignature APIs to text plug-ins and debuggers, there are tools designed to help you solve nearly every problem with your software.
As more organizations adopt digital transformation, CRMs like Salesforce will continue to grow in use and functionality. If you adopt these tools, no matter what skill level you possess, you’ll be better positioned to help your organization succeed.