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Lightning strikes as Salesforce1 moves into second generation

Stuart Lauchlan Profile picture for user slauchlan October 13, 2014
Lightning is the second generation of the Salesforce1 development platform with an emphasis on business users as well as developers.

Last year’s Dreamforce was dominated by Salesforce1, the platform intended to be the foundation for building connected apps tied to mobile devices, wearable and the whole Internet of Things.

Flash forward to this week and tomorrow will formally launch Salesforce1 Lightning, a drag-and-drop dashboard to enable developers and business users to create purpose­-built apps for devices with screens of every form factor.

Salesforce1 Lightning includes:

  • Lightning Framework, which is the same framework Salesforce’s internal development team uses to build apps and is now opened up to build custom Lightning Components.
  • Lightning Components can be components pre­built by Salesforce, such as feed, list, chart, search, navigation and many more, components built by partners, or own-build custom Lightning Components.
  • Lightning App Builder is pitched at business users, as well as developers, providing a point-­and-­click , drag-and-drop ability to design apps with a custom user interface.
  • Lightning Process Builder allows anyone to build enterprise workflows and visually automate complex processes in just a few clicks.
  • Lightning Community Designer to build engaging communities that connect customers, partners and employees.
  • Lightning Schema Builder to create and add new custom objects and fields, and map relationships without any code.


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Scott Holden, VP Salesforce 1 Platform, says the new offering is all about speed and innovation:

Apps are driving innovation. They are looked at as a source of innovation. The secret of innovation is speed and faster iterations. How do you listen to users and ship products to them faster. It’s not just about delivering code faster, it’s about putting something in the hands of the users.

Coca Cola Germany is an example of a really amazing transformation of a company being driven by the CEO towards a mobile first mind set. He says the number one competitor is not Pepsi, it’s speed.

There’s something in this for developers who can build with the component framework. So they build something, then there’s a knock at the door and someone says that users now want it on a tablet. Now the developers can say yes, here’s some components and rebuild for that.

In the old word, business analysts would throw requirements over the fence to IT, wait for a few months then it would come back and it would be wrong. So IT would tell you to get back in line. Now business and IT can sit down and iterate in real time.

In addition, Salesforce is using the Lightning Framework to deliver a new Salesforce Lightning UI across both mobile and desktop devices. Holden explains:

The Lightning user interface is the new UI of Our mobile apps today look really slick, but when you open up the desktop version,  you probably noticed it doesn’t look the same. So we’re taking the UI from mobile and replacing the desktop.

My take

The second embargo-breaking pre-announcement by CEO Marc Benioff of the week - and it’s only day one!

Screen Shot 2014-10-13 at 16.49.43

Lightning will strike tomorrow during the main keynote. More details after that.


Disclosure: At time of writing, is a premier partner of diginomica. 

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