Given the cost, frustration with and general shortage of application developers, organizations of all sizes are looking for alternative ways to let end users build and customize their own applications. With that goal in mind, in 2015, Salesforce created Salesforce Lightning, a framework designed to enable end users to add functions and customize their Salesforce applications.
At a Salesforce TrailheaDX developer conference this week, Salesforce announced that it has added over 200 new features to Salesforce Lightning, including Lightning LockerService for securing components, a Lightning Inspector debugging tool, and Lightning CLI, a tool that identifies potential issues in code created using Salesforce Lightning.
In addition to upgrading Salesforce Lightning, Dylan Steele, senior director of product marketing for App Cloud & IoT Cloud at Salesforce, says Salesforce is trying to generate more recognition and rewards for individuals who take the time to become proficient in the framework. A new Trailhead Superbadges initiative extends an existing program under which individuals get certified via a series of online exams and challenges administered by Salesforce. Steele notes that a Salesforce architect these days can command a salary in the range of $200,000 per year.
Finally, Salesforce revealed this week that it is pumping $50 million into a fund through which it will provide incentives for third-party companies to build applications using the Salesforce Lightning framework.
Salesforce is clearly trying to build a major ecosystem around its cloud applications. In fact, Salesforce claims to have helped create one million jobs, which it says represents a $272 billion net gain to the global gross domestic product (GDP). In all, Salesforce says that it has already awarded 735,000 badges. Obviously, some individuals collect multiple badges. But in all, Salesforce says over three million challenges have been awarded to date.
Salesforce is clearly at the forefront of enabling a new generation of citizen developers. Interest in these individuals is running high because they typically come from within a line of business. That means they are closer to the process that needs to be automated, so they generally deliver applications faster than the typical professional developer, at a lower cost. Obviously, more complex applications still require professional developers. But as time goes on, it is also clear that as citizen developers become more proficient, the richer the applications they create will become.