In this class you’ll learn the basics of building apps with Force.com, a part of Salesforce Platform. These apps are typically business apps: they solve organizational and logistical problems. You probably wouldn’t use Salesforce to build a computer game (though you could!).
There are two ways to build apps in Force.com: with or without code. This class will only cover the non-coding, point-and-click app building interface. But don’t be fooled! Building powerful apps does not require writing code.
This class contains an introductory lesson, five primary lessons where you'll be building and learning (each of which has an accompanying problem set to practice your skills), and a final project where you'll put everything together.
Lesson 0: What is Salesforce (15 mins)
What is Salesforce Platform? What does it do? Why should I learn about it? What kind of jobs can I get after I learn how to use it?
In this lesson, you’ll meet the instructors, get to know the class, and learn a bit about Salesforce in general.
Lesson 1: Creating your First App (90 minutes)
In this lesson you’ll get acquainted with Force.com and actually build the beginnings of your first app. You’ll get some experience taking a big problem (in this case, managing a music festival), breaking it into smaller parts, and representing those parts in Salesforce. As you do this, you’ll learn about the basic components of a Salesforce app and add some simple (but powerful) functionality to your app. More concretely, you’ll learn about:
- Salesforce Data: Salesforce represents data as objects, fields, and records. You’ll learn what these terms mean and build them into your app.
- Relationships: When the pieces of your app start communicating, interesting things can happen. In this lesson you’ll learn the basics of Salesforce relationship fields.
- Validation Rules: If you’ve ever incorrectly entered your credit card number into a website, you already know about validation rules. In this lesson, you’ll learn how to build them into your app.
- Formulas and Summaries: These tools let you easily keep track of quantifiable things like money spent, customers contacted, or tickets sold. In this lesson you’ll learn how to build these automated calculations into your app.
Lesson 2: Building out your Data Model (90 mins)
Behind every powerful business app is a well-planned data model (also known as a schema). In this lesson you’ll learn how to decompose a complex problem into its component pieces and then connect those pieces together with the appropriate relationship fields. The data model you build will serve as the schematic skeleton onto which you’ll build dynamic functionality in later lessons. The specific topics covered are:
- One-to-Many Relationships: These relationships let the pieces of your app talk to each other. In this lesson you’ll learn how and when (and why) to use master-detail and lookup relationships in the apps you build.
- Many-to-Many Relationships: You’ll learn how to use a junction object to add flexibility into your data model.
- Customizing the User Interface: Good apps should be easy to use! In this lesson you’ll learn how to configure the layout of your app to make sure the UI is simple and intuitive.
- Schema Builder: There are many ways to get things done in Salesforce. In this lesson you’ll start using the schema builder to understand how your app works.
- Data Loading: This is a convenient way to get lots of data onto your app at once.
Lesson 3: Visualizing your Data (45 mins)
No matter what kind of app you’re building, you’ve probably got some data that you want other people in your organization to understand quickly and easily. In this lesson you’ll learn how quickly communicate information with real-time data visualizations. Specifically, you’ll learn how to make:
- Reports: These let you gather related information into one place. These let you gather data according to specific criteria and display it in neat rows and columns.
- Charts: These let you graphically summarize the information in a report.
- Dashboards: Different people want access to different information. A dashboard is a collection of charts that give specific people in your organization exactly the information that they need in real-time.
- Views: Data is good, but sometimes you have too much. Views let you selectively and quickly display only the data you care about.
Lesson 4: Adding Automation (45 mins)
In this lesson you’ll think about how to use your app to automate manual tasks. You’ll learn how to use two important Salesforce tools:
- Workflows: There are situations where a series of steps need to happen in sequence: first do this, then do that. Workflows let you automate processes like these, such as sending an email, assigning a task, or updating a field.
- Approval Processes: You don’t want every job to be completely automated. Sometimes you need someone to step in and say “this looks good.” Approval processes add a human element to your automated tasks.
Lesson 5: Make it Social. Make it Mobile. (45 mins)
This is it. With a few clicks of the mouse you’ll make your app social and mobile. The tools you’ll use are:
- Chatter: This will let your users collaborate on the projects and records they work on together.
- Salesforce1: That web app you’ve been building this whole time? It’s actually a mobile app too. You’ll even learn how to quickly customize your mobile interface and add functionality for mobile productivity.
Final Project: Build your own App (2-4 hours)
By the time you get here, you will have already built a music festival management app. Now it’s time to take your own idea and turn it into a functional web and mobile app.