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  • Tony Nelson

SkyVisualEditor and Salesforce1 Lightning


Hello everyone. This is the head of the TerraSky Product Development team, Satoshi Takezawa. Salesforce had its largest Dreamforce yet and TerraSky was able to send 26 people to Dreamforce to realize first hand the showcasing of Salesforce1 Lightning (below as Lightning).


There are a few sections of Lightning that are being released by Salesforce but the portion we will focus on is the design environment known as Lightning App Builder. To summarize, Lightning is made up of Lightning Components and the Lightning App Builder (below as App Builder). Lightning Components are a framework of components to build up a screen and the App Builder is a tool to define a page layout by dragging and dropping these components on the screen.


Hey, wait a minute, I think I’ve heard of this structure below. That’s right, the concept is similar to our SkyVisualEditor (below as SVE) product.


SVE came out in 2010 as the first tool in the Salesforce world that could freely create pages. SVE is equipped with over 40 types of highly functionally components and by placing these components on the canvas by dragging and dropping it is possible to change the look and behavior just by mouse clicks. If there was a component that you wanted that was not available, it is also possible to create your own with the Visualforce Component framework. (components made with this framework are known as AppComponents.)


Will Lightning pose a threat to SVE?

We are already receiving these questions from our customers but I would like to answer their question with a clear no. In fact quite the opposite, we are pleased about the appearance of Lightning. Please allow us to explain in a little more detail.


1. More details on Lightning

An open-source framework called Aura has been published for a long time and we have continued to follow developments on it.(https://github.com/forcedotcom/aura )The Aura framework is a framework that allows you to save data to any data source and Lightning can be thought of as Aura that uses Salesforce as a data source.


Aura and Lightning have basic UI components like text boxes and radio buttons built-in but for more functional components there is not much information on what will be offered from Salesforce or from other component vendors. However, it looks like mobile will be the focus for now. By the way, the components are coded in HTML/JavaScript/Apex.


Then once finished, Lightning Components are dragged and dropped on the screen to adjust the look and behavior with the mouse using the AppBuilder. The AppBuilder is currently in Pilot so it is expected to become available after the formal release of the Lightning Components.



2. What is the same and what is different

As mentioned above, SVE provides over 40 components that you can use right now. Further components can be made with one of Salesforces standard functionalities the Visualforce Component framework so you can continue to build components with the Visualforce/Apex code that you are used to. SVE can be used to make both Desktop and Mobile screens but in practice, the percentage of screens made for desktop use is still overwhelmingly high.


The Studio tool that allows you to drag and drop these components is also provided in conjunction so you can easily adjust the look and behavior. In the end, the placed components are converted to Visualforce/Apex source code and run on Salesforce.


Further, we are directing quite a bit of effort into the large collection of highly functional components that SVE has to allow you to create the pages you want in an even shorter time.


For example, there is our most popular “Search Template” component. This component provides functionality to easily search by keyword or date and bulk modify and view the search results data.


Next, the “Multiline Table” component allows you to split the data from a single record in a table across multiple lines in the case that the width of the table is fixed.


Finally, SVE allows you to specify the layout at the pixel level and there is a component to output the page as a PDF so you can also create PDF forms.


3. Will the Era turn to Lightning?

Looking at it in this light, SVE appears to have higher usability but the HTML/JavaScript based Lightning also has the benefit of being comparably lighter than the Server Side processing intense Visualforce/Apex. Further, it is expected that Lightning will start with many mobile-focused components in the beginning so it could be a good choice when you want to create highly functional mobile pages.


We expect that many vendors will start to release many mobile-focused components on Lightning. When SVE becomes able to place Lightning components in addition to Visualforce Components what will happen? The number of page variations will increase significantly when mobile components from vendors all over the world will be able to be placed side by side with SVEs highly functional components. This is precisely why I am excited about the arrival of Lightning.



Summary

We are continuing to invest in SVE and in Lightning in a number of ways, including making the just announced, not yet released Lightning Components available for use in SVE. In the future, expect that SVE will be strengthened by Lightning.

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