Salesforce development is a multifaceted field that combines knowledge of Salesforce’s CRM platform with programming skills to customize and extend the capabilities of the platform to meet the specific needs of businesses. Below is a tutorial that outlines the essential software and tools needed to become a successful Salesforce developer.
1. Salesforce Platform:
Before diving into development, you need access to Salesforce. There are various editions like Essentials, Professional, Enterprise, Unlimited, and Developer. As a developer, you should start with a Developer Edition (DE) org, which is a free version of Salesforce that contains most of the features of the full platform.
- Sign up for a Developer Edition Org: Go to developer.salesforce.com, sign up, and start exploring.
2. Integrated Development Environment (IDE):
While Salesforce offers an online developer console, most professional Salesforce developers prefer using a more powerful local IDE for development tasks.
- Salesforce Extensions for Visual Studio Code: Visual Studio Code (VS Code) is a popular, lightweight editor that can be equipped with Salesforce Extensions, making it a powerful tool for Salesforce development.
- Download and install Visual Studio Code from code.visualstudio.com.
- Install the Salesforce Extension Pack from the VS Code extensions marketplace.
3. Salesforce CLI:
The Salesforce Command Line Interface (CLI) is an essential tool that allows developers to interact with their Salesforce orgs, manage their projects, and execute deployments directly from the command line.
- Download and install Salesforce CLI from developer.salesforce.com/tools/sfdxcli.
4. Version Control System:
Version control is crucial for any development work, including Salesforce development. Git is the most widely used system.
- Git: Install Git to manage your source code versions.
- Download Git from git-scm.com.
- GitHub/Bitbucket/GitLab: These services host your Git repositories and provide tools for collaborative development.
- Create an account on either GitHub, Bitbucket, or GitLab.
5. Package Managers:
Salesforce DX (SFDX) projects often depend on packages and libraries that need to be managed effectively.
- npm or Yarn: These are popular package managers that help you manage dependencies in Salesforce DX projects.
- Install Node.js (which includes npm) from nodejs.org.
- Optionally, install Yarn via the command
npm install -g yarn.
6. Salesforce DX:
Salesforce DX is a set of tools and practices that enable source-driven development, CI/CD, and more.
- Integrated with VS Code and the Salesforce CLI, it provides a source-driven approach to application development and lifecycle management.
7. Web Browsers:
For UI testing and debugging, a developer needs to have multiple web browsers installed.
- Google Chrome: Preferred due to its developer tools.
- Firefox: Another popular browser with extensive developer tools.
- Browser Developer Tools: Familiarize yourself with developer tools for debugging and testing.
8. Data Loader Tools:
For bulk operations on data, Salesforce offers data loader tools.
- Data Loader: For managing the insertion, updating, deletion, and exporting of data in bulk.
- Download Data Loader from within Salesforce Setup or use the web-based Data Import Wizard for simple import tasks.
9. API Testing Tools:
Salesforce APIs are used frequently for integration.
- Postman: A tool for API development, which helps in testing Salesforce REST and SOAP APIs.
- Download Postman from postman.com.
10. Debugging Tools:
In addition to the debugging tools found in browsers and IDEs, Salesforce provides specific tools to debug code.
- Salesforce Inspector: An extension for Chrome that adds a layer of functionality on top of the standard Salesforce UI to help with debugging.
11. Continuous Integration/Continuous Deployment Tools:
Automating the build and deployment process is crucial for larger projects.
- Jenkins: An open-source automation server that helps with continuous integration.
- GitHub Actions: For automated workflows.
- Travis CI: Another popular CI/CD service.
Additional Tools and Libraries:
- Illuminated Cloud: An alternative to Salesforce Extensions for VS Code, a powerful Salesforce development plugin for IntelliJ IDEA.
A successful Salesforce developer needs to be proficient not only with these tools but also with Salesforce-specific languages and frameworks such as Apex (Salesforce’s proprietary Java-like programming language), Visualforce (a framework that allows developers to build custom Salesforce pages with HTML-like tags), and Lightning Web Components (a modern framework for building user interfaces).
The combination of these tools enables developers to create complex, highly customized Salesforce solutions. Continuous learning and staying updated with Salesforce releases are also crucial aspects of being successful in this field.