In this article, let's take a look at what it looks like to develop with code, see the Lightning Component framework, and more.
In Part 1, I completed an overview of Salesforce, the Salesforce platform, and its no/low-code options. Now, let’s get to the meaty part (at least for developers) – developing with code! After that, I’ll share some overall impressions of the platform.
There are quite a lot of Salesforce-related packages and frameworks, but the first two trailheads introduce you primarily to the fundamentals: the Lightning Component framework, Apex, and Visualforce.
The Lightning Component framework is defined as a “component-based approach to UI development.” The framework is responsive, mobile-ready, and made to integrate quickly with Salesforce APIs and business data. There is a selection of pre-built components, and you can also create your own custom ones.
As a React developer, the mention of components immediately made me think that this would be similar; however, the reality is somewhat different. It certainly is component-based, but not in the way I am accustomed to from React. For example, see the screenshot of the Salesforce IDE below:
Yes, there's a web-based Salesforce IDE! There are also extensions for Visual Studio Code available.
This example is built using Aura components, the older version of Lightning components (the newer version, Lightning Web Components, is compatible with the old one and can exist side by side). You can see on the right side the inclusion of a client-side “Controller” file, which reminds me of .NET MVC paradigms. On the other hand, Lightning Web Components look more like a modern web framework:
In a way, it reminds me of Vue.js, where the template, JS, and CSS are separated but together. Working in this would definitely require some onramp, although as far as I can see the fundamentals are similar. It’s actually remarkable that a platform-integrated framework could look so similar to a modern, general app development framework – this is a definite win for Salesforce, and it makes it much easier for full-stack developers like myself to consider working on the Salesforce platform.
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