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  • Tony Nelson

The Birth of SkyVisualEditor

This blog aims to send out information on SkyVisualEditor to help people understand more about it. Today, I would like to share a story about the beginning of SkyVisualEditor and its product concept.


Concept

First, the concept of SkyVisualEditor is “a tool that can easily create Salesforce pages.” To be specific, it is “a tool for End User Computing” and “a tool which is necessary for System Integrators” so that every Salesforce user is capable of receiving the benefit of using the tool.


At the beginning of the service release, it started as “a page development tool designed for end-users, which is fast, cheap and provides high maintenance ability”. Today, SkyVisualEditor is recognized as a tool that helps users maximize the investment in Salesforce by using a feature called AppComponents which allows users to add Apex Classes, JavaScript and Custom Components to their Salesforce pages.


Road to Commercialization

We had a service called SkyEditor (released in August 2007) before SkyVisualEditor was launched. At the time of the release, Salesforce provided a feature called S-Controls and we designed SkyEditor as an internal tool to create rich pages and provide those pages to our customers. So, we would hear our customer’s requirements and create the pages they requested. The tool at that time automatically generated the page for us, although it was not done easily.


*S-Control: It is a previous generation of Visualforce. It is a feature that allows you to create custom pages that include contents that can be displayed on a web browser – Java applet, ActiveX control, Excel file, HTML Webform and so forth.


Soon after, in 2008, Salesforce announced a surprising new feature called Visualforce. Visualforce allowed users to do a lot more than S-Control could.


How Do Visualforce Pages Compare to S-Controls?


https://help.salesforce.com/apex.HTViewHelpDoc?id=pages_intro_vs_scontrols.htm&language=en


So, we decided to create a Visualforce version of the SkyEditor and released SkyEditor2 in September 2010. The initial concept of SkyEditor2 was a tool for End Users. However, we had some unsolved concerns as below:


  1. Can the idea of End User Computing by accepted by End Users?

  2. Would the tool conflict with TerraSky’s implementation teams in the future?

  3. Would other System Integrators think of it as a threat?


The outcomes of the release were:


  1. SkyVisualEditor is accepted around the world.

  2. No. It did not because our implementation team does more complex system development which can’t be done by a tool. We recommend our customers to use SkyVisualEditor when they need lighter/simple pages for easy maintenance.

  3. No. In fact, many System Integrators use SkyVisualEditor to create Visualforce pages for their customers. The reason behind this is because the usage of Visualforce has expanded widely in the years, giving System Integrators a chance to provide services outside of page implementation programming.


Today, SkyVisualEditor is a platform to create Salesforce pages. We are releasing new features and services for SkyVisualEditor to help create complex pages which cannot be done with standard Salesforce features.

SkyVisualEditor is still in the stages of continuous development with so much potential. As a product manager, I have so many ideas about new features and updates which I would like to enhance. I would love to hear your suggestions and ideas too!


Thank you for reading my blog. I did not go over anything technical today, but we will be posting topics like tips and hints to use the SkyVisualEditor platform more effectively, technical information regarding Salesforce UIs, etc.


Cheers!

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