Salesforce's developer push on receiving end of big cloud reboot

App Cloud rolls

Salesforce is floating one big developer cloud to woo code jockeys.

The SaaS-CRM vendor Thursday announced App Cloud, which integrates its existing Force, Heroku Enterprise and Lightning services. The trio will share a common identity, data and network services framework.

Also in the mix is Trailhead, something new Salesforce described as an “interactive learning environment” for devs creating Salesforce apps.

Salesforce’s latest cloud is being bowled at CIOs but, in reality, it targets developers, specifically, something it’s calling “citizen developers.”

Todd Nielson, Salesforce’s executive veep of App Cloud – and previously CEO of Heroku – said in a statement: “App Cloud brings together all of Salesforce’s leading platform services, empowering IT leaders with an integrated, trusted platform to quickly build connected apps for every business need.”

App Cloud will see the Heroku Private spaces, regions and identity rolled in early 2016, with pricing announced closer to release. Trailhead is due in October this year.

Lightning App Builder and Components for Lightning Experience on the desktop are due as pilot in October, with general availability in the first quarter of 2016.

This is Salesforce's latest attempt to woo developers.

A success in sales- and marketing-as-a-service apps, the firm is popular with line-of-business types but not so among web, Java or Microsoft junkies.

In 2010, Salesforce made huge fanfare of bringing six million Java devs to its platform via VMforce, a partnership with the mighty VMware.

The idea was that using VMware vCloud devs could tap’s database, Chatter collaboration, workflow, analytics and search. They built it but the millions did not come and VMforce was killed.

Heroku is Salesforce’s platform-as-a-service it bought in 2010 for $212m in cash; it kept the firm as a separately run and branded service.

Heroku has been a success with big-name customers, but with Salesforce’s core development platform the question of wither of Heroku has never satisfactorily been answered by Salesforce.

Interestingly, former Heroku CEO Nielson had set up and run Microsoft’s phenomenally successful MSDN. He was snatched by Salesforce in 2013 from his post as VMware COO to become CEO of Heroku, presumably to channel his developer skills.

It’s an important moment for Salesforce, as the firm prepares to introduce its new interface – Lightening.

Lightening replaces the existing Salesforce screens built using static HTML that refreshed when you hit the browser button. Now, screens update dynamically.

Behind Lightening will be a new app store that accepts third-party integrations.

Lightening has been described by Salesforce as the most significant update to the desktop interface in the company’s history – it’s been in the cooker since 2013. It calls Lightening “modern” and is due for release in October.

And we're all familiar with the dubious track record of Modern UIs. ®

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