Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Quick Tips : Salesforce : 10 ways to develop application without coding

Hi all, as evident from the topic, I'm hereby sharing a small list of configuration options available within Salesforce using which a non-programmer can also develop functionalities within salesforce. The best part of using these features is that you save time, save development/ testing effort, deploy and manage it easily.

Standard/ Custom Objects
Objects a.k.a. table (for database junkies) a.k.a. entity are used to store data within Salesforce. We can use out of the box objects for e.g. Account, Contact, opportunity, lead etc. (along with their powerful features) or create our own custom objects to store required information for e.g. invoice, purchase orders etc.

Custom fields
As with any entity, you need to store its attribute, similarly in salesforce an object can have fields. Out of the box objects have standard fields. Additionally, custom fields can be added to standard and custom fields. Following are few special types of fields that can be added to enrich product's functionality
  1. Formula fields:- these are automated fields which can calculate value at run-time and display it. For e.g. you want to calculate age of contact dynamically via his/her date of birth
  2. Relationship fields:- these are one of the most important types of fields. Relationship fields, as name implies, help you associate an object with other object. This further helps in screen designing, validations, automated workflows
Validation rules
Formula based rules to ensure that any data being entered within salesforce conforms to business rules. Validation rules can be very beneficial in ensuring that data within Salesforce is valid at all times and provides appropriate error messages to users when data doesn't conform to business rules.

Page layouts

Page layouts are the user interface of objects within Salesforce. Whether you want to add/ update/ view an entity you can customize its user interface by a simple yet powerful drag-drop interface.

Apps
A app is a collection of tabs (of custom objects, visualforce pages, other external urls) which are logically connected for business operations. In case of service cloud, we can configure apps for service cloud console and manage all settings from here for e.g. what options to display (knowledge management, live agent chat etc.), how to open tabs etc.

Listviews
Listviews can be simply explained as filtered lists of your records, to make sure you are looking at right data for e.g. My Accounts, Hot Leads, Top accounts etc. this helps in filtering view to show essential records only. Listviews can be created fairly easily and shared with other users.

Workflows and Approvals
Now, with all the above options, you can create objects, fields to store data and manage its user interface. But, what if you want to automate certain functions. This is where workflow and approvals help.

Workflows can help define specific actions for e.g. send email, update a field, create task or send message to external system whenever any record is updated/ created. Workflows can also be used to schedule an action for e.g. send an email after 5 days of case creation.

Approval processes help define a process wherein a request can be send to one or multiple reviewers for their approval. There can be multiple approval steps and actions (for e.g. send email, update a field, create task).

Lightning process builder
Process builder is comparatively new bullet in gun. It has advanced features to define process, rules and actions. It can also have a multi-step decision graph (something not possible in workflows). It can be understood as an advanced workflow mechanism.

Flow
At times, standard screens do not help when situation calls for a multiple screen scenario. In this case you can use Flows to create custom screens with ability to do CRUD operations (Create Read Update Delete) fairly easily.

Reports and Dashboards
Lastly, with all the functionalities in place, any business will want to report on their data. Salesforce provides standard reporting capabilities using which users can create reports and dashboards in minutes by mere drag and drop. It may not be as powerful as BI tool, but it is really effective and useful for transactional data. 

There are lot of cool things that can be done with combination of above options and create really powerful applications. So, start exploring all the different options available within above features to understand real power of configuration in Salesforce.

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