10 Best Practices for Heroku and Force.com Application Development

November 15, 2013 Balakrishna Narasimhan

force.comIn just a few days, thousands will gather at Dreamforce to join the Salesforce “customer company revolution.” We’ll be there, too, excited to see what new capabilities Salesforce will unveil in its Heroku and Force.com developer platforms.

Salesforce is a leading cloud platform, according a recent Forrester Wave report. With Amazon Web Services and Microsoft, Salesforce.com rises to the top when it comes to application development and delivery across all three development types—rapid developers, coders and DevOps pros—and Salesforce.com’s greatest strength is for rapid developers.

Using the Salesforce platform to become more customer focused was top of mind when we first engaged with ACT, so we’re thrilled that John Corrigan, VP of Customer Engagement, will be presenting ACT’s business transformation during the Salesforce Platform Keynote. We’re also looking forward to the Virgin Airlines presentation about how they used Force.com to increase employee engagement with a social intranet in the event’s Customer Company Showcase.

Working with these great customers and hundreds of others, we’ve identified lots of what works and some of what doesn’t when developing with the Force.com and Heroku platforms. We’ve taken our experience and distilled it into these 10 best practices for jump-starting your Heroku and Force.com application development:

1.    Start with end-user goals and stories. Identify a role—a salesperson, a finance executive, a support representative, whomever—and understand what that person needs to do his or her job better. Document responses to who, what and why, in every user story.

2.    Keep mobile top-of-mind and always understand the user experience. Consider both the mobile user interface and mobile user experience. Understand what use cases your mobile professionals find most valuable, then optimize for them.

3.    Never treat collaboration and social as an afterthought. Build social collaboration into your future-state business processes. Use Force.com to enable following, sharing and tagging to bring users information as they are working, increasing both productivity and engagement.

4.    Architect solutions in a componentized way. Allow your organization to create interfaces and components in parallel and potentially even in different technologies. Develop components to speed delivery and more easily accommodate change.

5.    Drive reuse whenever possible. Adapt trusted assets, such as those available through Force.com Labs, to give developers a head start.

6.    Value APIs over language in your architecture. Future-proof application development by architecting services and using APIs, including Force.com APIs for tools, metadata, analytics and mobile.

7.    Extend your team with crowdsourcing. Quickly develop assets and ideas by soliciting contributions from a larger online community. Pay only for results.

8.    Consider a cloud architect, and take advantage of existing resources. Assign someone to translate business requirements into a technical solution. Participate in Force.com training and certification in the classroom and online.

9.    Think agile! Iterate and release regularly. Plan to iterate and show end users demos regularly, then update releases in production at least every 3-4 months.

10.  Measure and optimize using automation. Use Force.com and Heroku to get more data about the configurations, code and quality of your applications, and easily access this data to begin to build a detailed picture of your applications.

For more information about Force.com app dev, download our new whitepaper. Then stay tuned in the coming months for updates as Salesforce introduces new features to drive the customer company revolution.

App Development Best Practices Whitepaper

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